What Are The Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis?
Depending on the joint affected, people with osteoarthritis may experience specific symptoms in the joints such as:
Bony enlargement and swelling
Activities of daily living, such as climbing stairs or opening jars, often become more difficult as the joints become more affected by the disorder.
Osteoarthritis typically occurs in one or two joints at first, most frequently targeting weight-bearing joints that include:
Small hand joints may also be involved.
Pain And Limitation Of Motion
The pain of osteoarthritis often manifests as a deep ache within or near the affected joint, coupled with a limitation of motion. In OA, most people typically experience joint pain that worsens during the course of the day, whereas others report the greatest pain in the morning (which is related to the symptom of stiffness after activity)
Osteoarthritic pain primarily is caused by joint damage.
Joint pain results when bony overgrowths rub together or when small stress fractures are present.
In addition, secondary injuries may occur if pain limits a joint's normal range of motion.
The body may respond by protectively "favoring" one joint over another. For example, if the painful joint is a knee or an ankle, the "favored" joint may be overused, causing painful muscle strain.
Other painful sensations, such as rubbing or grating within the joint, may be felt when a person performs specific activities such as:
As cartilage wears away on the ends of the bones and cushioning is lost, the intensity of pain may increase. Pain may become quite severe if the cartilage has completely deteriorated and the joint becomes unstable.
Nice To Know:
Pain does not come from the cartilage (which contains no nerves), but from the adjacent stretched or irritated tissues.
Sometimes osteoarthritis can cause referred pain - that is, pain that is not experienced directly in the damaged joint, but is felt in other regions instead. For example:
An arthritic hip joint may cause painful sensations in the buttocks, groin, thigh, or knee.
Arthritis of the spine can cause pain that radiates to the neck, arms, or legs.
Osteoarthritic pain, like other pain, may worsen after stressful life events, such as the loss of a loved one or separation from a spouse.
Stiffness After Inactivity
After periods of inactivity (for example, sleeping or prolonged sitting), a person may experience considerable stiffness in the osteoarthritic joint. Stiffness usually lasts for about 30 minutes or less and is improved by mild activity that 'warms up' the joint.