Arthritis Definitions
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Arthritis referrs to “inflammation of the joints”, or perhaps more correctly – painful joints. Arthritis can be considered to be of four main types:

When assessing joint pain, we use various terms to describe the pattern and types of arthritis.


  • Arthropathy – means disease of a joint.  Sometimes used synonymously with arthritis, but generally used when referring to joint pathology, and used for specific conditions:
    • Reactive arthropathy – infection in another part of the body causes autoimmune reaction against the joint
    • Crystal arthropathy – due to crystal deposition in a joint
  • Monoarthritis – disease of only 1 joint
  • Oligoarthritis – disease of 2-5 joints
  • Polyarthritis – disease of 6+ joints
  • Morning stiffness – refers to joint stiffness lasting greater than 30 minutes after waking, and typically a feature of spondyloarthritis and inflammatory arthritis

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Dr Tom Leach

Dr Tom Leach MBChB DCH EMCert(ACEM) FRACGP currently works as a GP and an Emergency Department CMO in Australia. He is also a Clinical Associate Lecturer at the Australian National University, and is studying for a Masters of Sports Medicine at the University of Queensland. After graduating from his medical degree at the University of Manchester in 2011, Tom completed his Foundation Training at Bolton Royal Hospital, before moving to Australia in 2013. He started almostadoctor whilst a third year medical student in 2009. Read full bio

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