Kellie K. Middleton, MD

Which Type of Arthritis Do I Have?

Nov 15, 2023
Which Type of Arthritis Do I Have?
When you learn that arthritis is an umbrella term that covers about 100 types of joint pain and inflammation, you may wonder what type of arthritis you have. How do you find out? Does the type of arthritis affect your prognosis and treatment? 

Arthritis is a medical term that refers to inflammation, pain, and possible disabilities in the tissues surrounding one or more joints. About 58.5 million women and men in the United States have been diagnosed with some type of arthritis. The most common types are:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gout
  • Lupus
  • Fibromyalgia

You’re more likely to develop arthritis — especially the wear-and-tear form of arthritis known as osteoarthritis — as you age. In fact, about half of adults over age 65 have some form of arthritis. Kellie K. Middleton, MD, is an orthopedic specialist in Lawrenceville, Georgia. 

As a former professional athlete, she understands how important strong, healthy joints are for your overall well-being. She diagnoses arthritis subtypes and prescribes customized treatments, when appropriate.

Do you experience pain or stiffness in your joints or elsewhere in your body? You may have a type of arthritis that could benefit from diagnosis and treatment. Below are some of the most common forms of the 100 arthritis types.


Osteoarthritis is by far the most common form of arthritis because it affects approximately 32.5 million women and men in the US. That accounts for more than half of all cases of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is often referred to as a “wear-and-tear” form of arthritis because it occurs through prolonged joint use. Usually, you develop osteoarthritis as part of the aging process, as the articular cartilage that protects your joints wears away, which allows the bones to grind against one another. 

Counterintuitively, a lifestyle change that can improve pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis is increasing, rather than decreasing, your movement. Moving a joint releases a lubricant called synovial fluid that helps keep your cartilage healthy. 

Losing weight, choosing joint-healthy exercises, and eating an anti-inflammatory diet emphasizing fresh, whole foods can help ease the pain. We may also recommend physical therapy and medications. You may also benefit from platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. Regenerative therapies like PRP help your cartilage regenerate to protect your joints.

Inflammatory arthritis

Inflammatory forms of arthritis may cause your joints to be swollen, red, and hot, in addition to pain and stiffness. The joint may also feel warm to the touch. Types of inflammatory arthritis include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis — immune system attacks joints
  • Psoriatic arthritis — complication of the skin condition psoriasis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis — inflammation and pain in spine
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis — affects kids and teens

Depending on the type of inflammatory arthritis you have, you may benefit from lifestyle changes and specific medications. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) suppress inflammation. Biologics interrupt the inflammation process.

Joint-specific arthritis

When your joint has been traumatized by an accident, such as a collision or sports injury, it may change how it works. Damaged tendons and muscles could allow the joint bones to grind together, causing pain and inflammation.

You may benefit from bracing, regenerative therapies such as PRP, and even surgery to repair damaged tissues. With physical therapy and rehab training, you should regain use of your joint again.


Gout is a specific form of arthritis that usually affects the large joint in a big toe. Gout is caused by excess uric acid, which then collects as crystals within joint tissue, causing stabbing pain.

A diet high in purines or sugars is associated with excess uric acid. Treatment may include modifying your diet, drinking more water, and medications that control pain or uric acid levels.


Like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus is an autoimmune disease. For unknown reasons, your overactive immune system attacks healthy tissues. In lupus, any organ can be attacked, including your joints. In addition to lifestyle changes, Dr. Middleton may recommend medications and other forms of therapy to give you relief.

Are you having trouble or pain when you move a joint? Find out what type of arthritis you have and get the treatment you need by contacting our knowledgeable team by phone or the online form today