Causes of Arthritis and
Painful Joint Inflammation

The more you know about the causes of arthritis the better you will be at preventing and even treating this painful condition.



Arthritis is an inflammation of one or more joints in the body causing redness, swelling, pain and loss of joint mobility.

Bone growths or spurs may develop in the affected joints, increasing pain and decreasing mobility. These conditions affect the body's movable, or synovial, joints at the knee, wrists, elbows, fingers, toes, hips and shoulders. The neck and back also have joints between the bones of the spine. There may be audible cracking or grating noises when the joints move.

Arthritis and other diseases of the musculoskeletal system are the primary source of disability in the United States today and in many industrialised countries.

In order to understand the causes of arthritis would you like to look at the joints more closely to see how they work and what can go wrong? You'll find it fascinating...

A closer look at the joint

There are 6 different types of joints in our body and they all work in different ways but their underlying physiological structure is essentially the same: Two or more adjoining movable bones, whose surfaces are covered with a layer of cartilage (the yellow part in the picture), are surrounded by a fluid-filled capsule made up of ligaments (tough, fibrous tissue).

Fluid is secreted by the synovial membrane, a thin membrane that lines the inside of the joint capsule.
Thanks to this viscous fluid and to the smooth, rubbery, blue-white cartilage covering the ends of bones, the bones within the joint normally glide smoothly past one another.

In healthy joints, the synovial membrane is thin, the cartilage that cover the bones is smooth and a thin layer of synovial fluid covers the bone surfaces, keeping them well lubricated. A problem in any of these areas can result in arthritis.

The Role of Inflammation in Arthritis

Inflammation is a natural process in which the body's immune system reacts to infection, injury or any abnormal form of irritation. The area of inflammation becomes red, swollen and abnormally warm. Its purpose is to kill any invading organism and speed up the removal of debris of dead bacteria or viruses, and tissue. The whole process is all part of a healthy healing process.

Unfortunately, there are times when the immune system mistakes the body's own normal tissues for the 'enemy' and attacks them, as in rheumatoid arthritis. The immune system may also attack parts of the body where concentrations of abnormal substances occur - such as joints in which bony nodules form after injury, as in osteoarthritis. Or in places where abnormal deposits of uric acid form, as in the case of gout.

Other causes of arthritis can be bacterial, viral, or fungal infections of a joint. The microrganisms most commonly involved in this type of the disorder are steptococci, staphylococci, gonococci, hemophilus or tubercle bacilli, and fungi such as Candida albicans.

Usually the infecting organism travels to the joint through the bloodstream from an infection elsewhere in the body, but injury or even surgery can result in joint infection as well.

Symptoms include redness, swelling, pain and tenderness in the affected joint, often accompanied by systemic symptoms of infection such as fever, chills and body aches.

Arthritis may appear suddenly or come on gradually. Some people feel a sharp burning or grinding pain. Others compare the pain to that a toothache. Moving the joint usually hurts, although sometimes there is only stiffness.

The swelling and deformity that takes place in arthritic joints can result from a thickening of the synovial memebrane, an increase in the secretion of synovial fluid, enlargement of the bones or some combination of these factors.

different types of arthritis

Dipending on the causes of arthritis and what systems have been affected, we have different types of arthritis.  The most common are:

The next pages will discuss these in more detail.

Because inflammation and an overactive immune systems are the main causes of arthritis, the best diet to deal with this problem has to be designed to control inflammation. Please, have a look at this page for some helpful advice.

Supplements that support joint health

Joint Support Formula

Delivers a combination of glucosamine hydrochloride, horsetail extract, MSM, boron and niacin, alongside manganese, which contributes to the normal formation of connective tissue.

Glucosamine HCl

Delivers 750mg vegetarian Glucosamine Hydrochloride per capsule. It is an important building block for cartilage tissue, a structural component within the skeleton that forms part of the connective tissues in joints between the bones such as the elbows, knees and ankles.

Supplements that support joint health

Joint Support Formula

Delivers a combination of glucosamine hydrochloride, horsetail extract, MSM, boron and niacin, alongside manganese, which contributes to the normal formation of connective tissue.


Glucosamine HCl

Delivers 750mg vegetarian Glucosamine Hydrochloride per capsule. It is an important building block for cartilage tissue, a structural component within the skeleton that forms part of the connective tissues in joints between the bones such as the elbows, knees and ankles.


Articles in the Arthritis Series:

Causes of Arthritis and Joint Pain

Osteoarthritis and Diet

Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis




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Supplements that can help combat inflammation


Antartic Krill Oil

Delivers highly bioavailable and sustainable natural sources of beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.

Evening Primrose Oil

High potency 1000mg Evening Primrose Oil containing 80mg Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) per soft gel suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Aloe Vera Juice

Nutrigold’s Aloe Vera whole leaf juice undergoes careful processing to ensure that the bioactive phytonutrients (including polysaccharides and polyphenols, vitamins and minerals) are maintained to the highest levels and in bioactive forms that can be utilised by the body.

Curcumin/Turmeric

This supplement has specific delivery system that increases absorption of total curcuminoids over standard curcumin by 46-times. This particular delivery format for the curcuminoids achieves a significantly higher level of absorption than traditional food use.

Alka Greens

Alka-Greens is a convenient and easy to blend alkalising greens powder formulation that can be enjoyed by all the family. Every ingredient in Alka-Greens powder is organically certified by the Soil Association. The improved formulation of Alka-Greens contains organic spinach powder instead of pre-sprouted barley so is naturally gluten-free.