Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Osteoarthritis usually develops slowly and can occur in one or several areas of the body, such as the spine, hands, hips, and neck. General osteoarthritis symptoms include pain and stiffness in a joint, although pain is not always present with osteoarthritis. Red and tender joints are usually not one of the symptoms of this condition.

Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis: An Overview

Osteoarthritis is a condition that mostly affects the cartilage in a joint. In a person who has osteoarthritis, this cartilage wears away over time. Osteoarthritis may begin as a little morning stiffness; and for some people it may never get any worse. But for many other people with osteoarthritis, symptoms can become serious, painful, disabling, and even crippling.
However, one of the myths about osteoarthritis is that it is always painful. Pain is not always present with osteoarthritis, especially early on in the disease. In fact, two-thirds of people whose x-rays show evidence of osteoarthritis report no pain or other symptoms.

Common Osteoarthritis Symptoms

In the early stages of osteoarthritis, joints may simply ache a little after physical work or exercise. But over time, as more and more of the cartilage wears down, the bare bone ends begin to rub against each other. This may cause other osteoarthritis symptoms, including:
  • Steady or intermittent pain in a joint.
  • Stiffness in a joint after getting out of bed or sitting for a long time. The stiffness goes away when you begin to move the joint.
  • Swelling or tenderness in one or more joints.
  • Loss of motion in the joint.
  • Having a joint lock or "give way."
  • Feeling like the joint is unstable.
  • A crunching feeling or the sound of bone rubbing on bone.
Hot, red, or tender joints are probably not osteoarthritis. If you have these symptoms, check with your healthcare provider about other possible causes, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
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