In medical coding, arthritis is classified under the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition (ICD-10). Arthritis is a term used to describe inflammation of the joints. It refers to a group of more than 100 different types of joint disorders that can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and decreased joint mobility.


Arthritis symptoms can vary depending on the type of arthritis and the affected joints. However, some common symptoms of arthritis include:

  1. Joint Pain: Persistent pain in one or more joints is a key symptom of arthritis. The pain may be sharp, dull, or throbbing and can vary in intensity.
  2. Joint Stiffness: Stiffness, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity, is common in many forms of arthritis. This stiffness may improve with movement.
  3. Swelling: Inflammation of the joints can lead to swelling, causing the affected area to appear larger or feel warmer to the touch.
  4. Redness and Warmth: Inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can cause redness and warmth around the affected joints.
  5. Limited Range of Motion: Arthritis can restrict the normal range of motion in affected joints, making movement difficult.
  6. Fatigue: Many people with arthritis experience fatigue, which can be a result of the body’s response to inflammation or due to the challenges of dealing with chronic pain.
  7. Weakness: Muscles around affected joints may weaken over time, contributing to difficulties in movement and function.
  8. Fever: In some types of inflammatory arthritis, individuals may experience episodes of fever, particularly during flare-ups.
  9. Joint Deformities: In certain forms of arthritis, prolonged inflammation can lead to joint deformities, especially in advanced stages of the disease.


These are broad categories, and for each type of arthritis, there may be more detailed codes considering factors such as the affected joint, laterality, and other clinical specifics. It is essential to refer to the latest ICD-10 coding manual or seek guidance from a medical coder to ensure accurate coding for specific cases.


  • M15 – Polyosteoarthritis
  • M16 – Coxarthrosis (hip osteoarthritis)
  • M17 – Gonarthrosis (knee osteoarthritis)
  • M18 – Arthrosis of first carpometacarpal joint (thumb base osteoarthritis)

Causes: Aging, joint injury, obesity, genetics.

Precautionary Measure: Maintain a healthy weight, engage in regular low-impact exercise, protect joints from injury, and consider joint-friendly supplements.

Rheumatoid arthritis:

  • M05 – Seropositive rheumatoid arthritis
  • M06 – Other rheumatoid arthritis

Causes: Autoimmune response, genetic factors, environmental triggers.

Precautionary Measure: Early diagnosis and treatment, regular monitoring, medication adherence, and lifestyle modifications such as a balanced diet and regular exercise.


  • M10 – Gout

Causes: Excessive uric acid leading to crystal formation in joints.

Precautionary Measure: Manage diet to reduce purine-rich foods, stay hydrated, maintain a healthy weight, and adhere to prescribed medications to control uric acid levels.

Ankylosing spondylitis and other spondylopathies:

  • M45 – Ankylosing spondylitis
  • M46 – Other inflammatory spondylopathies

Causes: Genetic predisposition, autoimmune factors.

Precautionary Measure: Regular exercise to maintain flexibility and posture, medications as prescribed, and seeking early treatment to manage symptoms effectively.

Psoriatic arthritis:

  • L40.5 – Arthropathic psoriasis

Causes: Autoimmune response in individuals with psoriasis.

Precautionary Measure: Timely treatment for psoriasis, joint protection, and a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise.

Juvenile arthritis:

  • M08 – Juvenile arthritis

Causes: Autoimmune factors, genetic predisposition.

Precautionary Measure: Early diagnosis and intervention, regular medical check-ups, adherence to prescribed medications, and support for physical and emotional well-being.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE):

  • M32 – Systemic lupus erythematosus

Causes: Autoimmune response affecting multiple organs.

Precautionary Measure: Regular medical monitoring, medication adherence, sun protection, and lifestyle adjustments to manage symptoms and reduce flare-ups.


In conclusion, it is crucial to recognize that arthritis symptoms are dynamic, with fluctuations in intensity over time. Early detection and intervention play pivotal roles in enhancing outcomes for individuals affected by arthritis. To ensure precise and current coding for specific cases, healthcare professionals should refer to the latest edition of the ICD-10 coding manual or seek guidance from a qualified medical coder. Comprehensive information, particularly detailing the location and severity of arthritis, must be provided to ensure accurate coding in healthcare settings.

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