Arthritis is a broad medical term that literally means "joint inflammation." The term is used to refer to any of more than a hundred specific medical diseases that affect joints
-- places where two or more bones come together in the body.
The most common underlying cause of arthritis is osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease.
Because osteoarthritis is so common, health providers sometimes use the terms arthritis, regular arthritis, or just arthritis to refer to osteoarthritis. Or they may use the umbrella term arthritis if they haven't yet completed a workup to figure out just what disease is causing the joint pain.
If you've been told you have arthritis, it's a good idea to ask your doctor to clarify what type of arthritis he or she thinks you have. This can help you ensure that you're getting the best type of treatment for your situation.