Non-Inflammatory and Inflammatory Arthritis

March, 2021

Did you know that there are over 120 different types of Arthritis!?  

Each type of arthritis is unique and affects our joints in different ways.  

Although there are a lot of types of arthritis they are usually placed into two main categories, Non-Inflammatory Arthritis and Inflammatory Arthritis. They are placed in these categories based on their underlying disease processes - we'll explain a bit more about this below.  

Unfortunately, we still don't fully understand what causes the different types however we do know that there are a number of risk factors which can increase a persons chance of developing a condition. These risk factors commonly include: our genetics, family history, age, being overweight or obese, low levels of physical activity, joint injury or strain, and unhealthy behaviours such as smoking, and many more.   

Non-Inflammatory Arthritis

This group of conditions are sometimes called mechanical arthritis, degenerative arthritis or wear-and-tear arthritis. Although these names make these conditions sound simple, the are actually very complex.

Non-inflammatory types of arthritis are often the result of a breakdown or damage to the different parts of the joint, for example cartilage. Although we don't exactly know what causes these types of arthritis there are some key risk factors including our genetics, body weight and joint strain. Non-Inflammatory types of arthritis are localised conditions, which means they stay in the joints affected and don't spread around the body.  

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of Non-Inflammatory arthritis in Australia and around the world.  
Inflammatory Arthritis

These types of arthritis are sometimes called auto-immune arthritis, auto-inflammatory arthritis, and used to commonly be called rheumatism.  

These conditions are vey complex and are the result of our immune system malfunctioning causing our body to attack itself. In many cases our body will mistakenly send large amounts of inflammation to our joints. This inflammation then starts to attack the healthy parts of our joints causing them to become swollen and painful.  

Inflammatory forms of arthritis are systemic conditions, meaning if they are left untreated they may spread around the body causing inflammation in other joint and organs.  

Inflammatory types of arthritis include Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Lupus and many more.  

Luckily there are great treatments available to help manage the different types of arthritis and help prevent their more serious impacts. Regardless of what type of arthritis you have, the earlier you get a diagnosis and start treatment the better your chances of controlling the condition. ​  

If you ever notice anything wrong with your joints see your doctor about it. Particularly if your joints are stiff, painful, swollen or inflamed.

More Information and Support

Order your free information booklet 10 Steps to Living Well with Arthritis or download some of our handy information sheets

Register for our online exercise program, Arthritis Moves!

Register for Arthritis Assist to speak one-on-one with someone else living with arthritis. 

Join one of our online support groups to connect with other Australians living with arthritis. 

Your gift will fund support services for people living with arthritis and help us to continue researching for better treatments and cures.