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Arthritis is inflammation of the joints but is often used to describe any disease that affects the joints. The most common arthritis in student populations is rheumatoid arthritis which is a condition where the body's immune system attacks the thin membrane that lines the joints, causing pain, swelling, and inflammation.
Students with arthritis experience swelling in one or more joints, early morning pain and stiffness, recurring pain or tenderness, and weakness combined with joint pain. Skin, joint, kidney, lung, heart, nervous system, and blood cell infections may accompany fatigue and difficulty in sleeping for students with arthritis.

Observing Arthritis in the Classroom

Faculty might observe the following characteristics in students with arthritis:

  • May have difficulty writing
  • May need to stand during long classes
  • May occasionally miss class due to flare ups


Related Functional Characteristics

Climate Sensitivity : Arthritic pain often increases during rapid weather changes especially in extremely cold weather.

Fatigue (Physical) : Students with arthritis may experience physical fatigue due to increased muscle stiffness, mobility issues, chronic pain, or inability to sleep.

Motor Skill (Fine) : Students with arthritis have joint pain that can impact joints in fingers and hands.

Motor Skill (Gross Lower) : Students with arthritis may experience gross motor difficulties due to muscle and joint pain, damage, or loss of movement. These difficulties are generally intermittent.

Motor Skill (Gross Upper) : Students with arthritis may experience pain due to muscle and joint damage or loss of movement in the joint(s).

Pain Management : Students with arthritis often have pain and stiffness in the mornings and have flare ups periodically that cause pain and movement restriction.

Service Animal Needs : Service animals can help students with arthritis to reach and retrieve items or to assist with balance.

Susceptibility to Infection : Students with arthritis have higher susceptibility to infection.

The Building Accepting Campus Communities (BACC) project was funded by the US Department of Education Office of Secondary Education grant #P333A080070-09. The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on gender, age, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, veteran's status, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.