Arthritis Home > Arthritis Symptoms

Because there are so many different types of arthritis, there is no one classic set of arthritis symptoms. However, a few of the signs and symptoms that are shared by a number of the different types of arthritis include joint stiffness, pain in a joint or joints, and warmth and redness in a joint. You should contact your healthcare provider if you develop any pain, tenderness, or other problems in a joint or joints.

Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis: An Overview

"Arthritis" is not just a word healthcare providers use when they talk about painful, stiff joints. There are many kinds of arthritis (over 100 types), each with different symptoms and treatments. Even within the different types of arthritis, symptoms can vary. For example, for some people with rheumatoid arthritis, symptoms last only a few months and go away without causing any noticeable damage. Other people may have a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis that is active most of the time, lasts for many years or a lifetime, and leads to serious joint damage and disability.

Are There Any Common Arthritis Symptoms?

Although different types of arthritis have different symptoms, there are certain symptoms that are shared with a number of the different types.
Some of these possible signs and symptoms of arthritis include:
  • Pain in a joint or joints
  • Joint stiffness
  • Joint swelling and/or tenderness
  • Problems using or moving a joint normally
  • Warmth and redness in a joint.
    Any joint can be affected by arthritis. However, certain types are arthritis are more likely to affect certain joints. For example, ankylosing spondylitis most often affects the joints in the lower spine.
    Some types of arthritis affect other parts of the body besides the joints. For example, rheumatoid arthritis may cause more generalized symptoms that include weakness, tiring easily, a decreased appetite, weight loss, and a low-grade fever. Rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis may also affect the heart.
    One of the myths about arthritis is that it is always painful. Pain is not always present with arthritis. For example, two-thirds of people whose x-rays show evidence of osteoarthritis report no pain.
    Written by/reviewed by:
    Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
    Last updated/reviewed:
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