Our skeleton is made up of bones which are rigid, inflexible objects which require help to allow us to move. This help comes in the form of joints at the point where bones make contact. Arthritis damages joints; that is why people experience joint pain when they move.
The joint operates by connecting the bones with elastic band-type chords, called ligaments, which keep them in place. A protective coating, called cartilage, covers the bone surface at the joint to prevent bones from rubbing directly against each other. The joint is surrounded by a capsule also, and the space within the joint (joint cavity) contains a liquid, called synovial fluid, which provides nutrients to the joint and cartilage. It is produced by the synovial membrane (or synovium) which lines the joint cavity.
Movement of the joint is operated by the muscles attached to the bones as they lengthen and shorten. For example, when the bicep shortens and the tricep lengthens the lower part of the arm is pulled upwards towards the shoulder.
Arthritis affects joints in many different ways levels of joint pain can also vary depending on the type and severity of arthritis you have. To find out more about how arthritis affects your joints, read our information booklet on your arthritis type.
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