Medical Information

Explore detailed information about a range of joint problems and treatments, including medications, surgery, physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Reading this will help you understand more about your own condition. There is also a glossary with explanations of many medical terms used in orthopaedics. You can find out even more by following the links page to other related websites, journals or professional medical associations.

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Introducing Arthritis

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon


This booklet is designed to give you some helpful information about arthritis and other joint problems, and how the Arthritis Research Campaign (ARC) is fighting them.

Arthritis and rheumatism – is there a difference?
‘Arthritis’ is a term used by doctors to describe inflammation within a joint – as in rheumatoid arthritis, for example. The term comes from the Greek ‘arthros’, meaning joint, and ‘itis’, meaning inflammation. ‘Rheumatism’ is a more general term which is used to describe aches and pains in or around the joints. Because there are many possible causes of these pains doctors do not often use the term ‘rheumatism’ and will usually refer to these problems either by a specific diagnosis (e.g. ‘rheumatoid arthritis’, ‘gout’) or according to the part of the body affected (e.g. ‘low back pain’ or ‘knee pain’). Doctors sometimes use the terms ‘musculoskeletal conditions’ or ‘the rheumatic diseases’ to refer to a whole range of conditions which affect the joints.


Editor: David P Johnson MD.
St Mary’s Hospital. Clifton Bristol. BS8 1JU.
Web site:
© OrthopaedicsOpinionOnline 2011

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of Orthopaedic Opinion Online or the author. The information is provided for general background reading only and should not be relied upon for treatment. Advice should always be taken from a registered medical practitioner for individual circumstances and for treatment of any patient in any circumstances. No liability is accepted by Orthopaedic Opinion Online, or the author in respect to the information provided in respect of the content or omission or for any reason or as a result of treatment in individual circumstances. This information is not for use in the USA.