Last reviewed 01/2018

Arthritis may be due to:

  • non-infective arthritis - the classical arthritides
  • septic/infective arthritis, which must be excluded before treating other types of arthritis because of the possibility of rapid rate of joint damage
  • joint injury , very often overuse rather than recalled trauma, leading to joint effusion
  • arthralgia, often caused by systemic viral infection

Pointers to the diagnosis of joint inflammation include:

  • site
  • number and distribution of affected joints - polyarticular, oligoarticular or monoarticular
  • the age and sex of the patient
  • associated symptoms
  • past medical history and family history
  • current drug therapy