Arthritis (from the Greek arthro, meaning “joint,” and itis, meaning “inflammation”) is a group of diseases that affect synovial joints. Arthritis may originate from an infection, an injury, metabolic problems, or autoimmune disorders. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a chronic, degenerative disease most often beginning as part of the aging process. Often referred to as “wear and tear” arthritis because it is the result of life’s everyday activities, it is a degradation of the articular cartilage that protects the bones as they move at a joint site. Osteoarthritis usually affects the larger, weight-bearing joints first, such as the hips, knees, and lumbar region of the vertebral column.