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Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Osteoarthritis (OA)Woman learns about her osteoarthritis symptoms is a localized disease in which is connected to the natural process of aging. While generally limited to the affected joint(s), any one can be affected by these osteoarthritis symptoms.

The cartilage surrounding an arthritic bone progressively wears down until bones rub against each other. Spurs develop on the exposed bones and malformation of the joints often occurs. This process is generally painful and causes an inflammatory response.

The most common osteoarthritis symptom is joint pain. Aching joints characterize the disease. This pain becomes worse when stressed or in motion and it feels relief while immobile. Over time, patients may experience more severe osteoarthritis symptoms and pain while affected joints are at rest.

Stiffness in the joints is also a common symptom of this degenerative disease. It can last a while following periods of stillness. You can reduce the severity of these osteoarthritis symptoms by working out and stretching regularly.

(If you live in Alabama and have been diagnosed with OA, you may qualify for our osteoarthritis clinical trial in Birmingham, AL.)

Osteoarthritis pain can be so severe that it keeps patients awake at night. These types of symptoms are often exacerbated by humidity and other weather fluctuations. Joint relief and mobility may follow even intense throbbing pain.

Common osteoarthritis symptoms include:

  • Joint tenderness
  • Bone spurs
  • Loss of full range of motion of joints
  • Inflammation
  • Morning stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Joint effusion (swelling)
  • Crepitus (cracking noise) upon movement of an arthritic knee
  • Tendon contractions
  • Unstable joints
  • Joint locking
  • Joint buckling
  • Poor posture
  • Worsened coordination
  • Deteriorating manual dexterity

Fatigue and general weakness are often mistakenly thought of as symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Cases of OA are characterized uniquely different in each joint. With each case, pain is experienced if any symptoms at all are present.

Are Your Joints Affected by Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis Symptoms in the Hip

  • Osteoarthritis may impact one or both hips simultaneously
  • Pain may be experienced in the groin, buttocks and knees in addition to the hips
  • Limping
  • Commonly experienced loss of range of motion
  • Very often experienced (because hips bear so much weight)

Woman's knee exhibits osteoarthritis symptoms

Osteoarthritis Symptoms in the Knee

  • Often debilitating
  • Affected knees often maintain range of motion and function
  • Swelling
  • Very often experienced (because knees bear so much weight)

Osteoarthritis Symptoms in the Fingers

  • OA usually develops in the Heberden’s nodes (first joint below fingertips)
  • Often damages the base of the thumb
  • Cysts commonly develop in the affected fingers

Osteoarthritis Symptoms in the Spine

  • Muscle spasms
  • Loss of mobility
  • Pinched nerves
  • Numbness
  • May cause pain in the lower back
  • May cause pain in the neck and result in trouble with swallowing
  • Muscle weakness

Osteoarthritis Symptoms in the Shoulders

  • Less commonly experienced
  • Commonly stems from a previous shoulder injury
  • May cause stiffness in the back of the shoulder

Osteoarthritis symptoms tend to get steadily worse over the long run. However, some OA patients only experience mild symptoms from their disease.

If you’ve experienced chronic pain in one or more of your joints, then you should contact your doctor right away. Take a moment to write down the osteoarthritis symptoms you’ve experienced as this can help your doctor make a quick and accurate diagnosis.