Signs and symptoms of Osteoarthritis

By  , Expert Content
Jan 19, 2013

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The symptoms and the severity of symptoms of osteoarthritis (OA) can vary from person to person and it also depends on the joint that is affected. The common signs and symptoms of OA are:

  • pain especially when doing activities, such as walking, running
  • stiffness in the morning, which usually lasts for less than 30 minutes and improves when you start to move
  • limitation of motion (that is difficulty in moving the affected joints or doing certain activities).

Some other signs and symptoms which you or your doctor may notice include:

  • joint tenderness (pain the joint on touching it)
  • increased pain and stiffness after the joint is kept in one position for some time (like in the morning)
  • swelling around the joint (the joints may appear slightly larger or more 'knobbly' than usual)
  • grating or crackling sound or sensation in your joints on moving them
  • decreased range of movement in your joints
  • weakness and loss of muscle around the affected joint.

Some people with osteoarthritis may not have persistent pain in the joints (the pain may occur in episodes). Most people with OA have symptoms in one or a few joints at any one time. The symptoms may gradually worsen or in some people it may stabilise. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint but the joints of knees, hips or hands are most commonly affected.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the knees: In most people with osteoarthritis of knees, it is likely that both the knees will get affected over time, unless OA starts after injury or another condition affecting only one knee. Symptoms of OA of knees include pain in knees which increases when you walk, particularly while climbing stairs or walking uphill. You may feel that at times the knees 'give way' beneath you or make it difficult to straighten your legs. You may hear a grating or crackling sound or sensation in your affected knee on moving it.


[Read: Knee Osteoarthritis and Acupunture]


Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the hips: The pain of OA of hips occurs in the groin or outside the hip, which worsens when you move the hip and when you walk. Some people can have bad pain at night. In OA of hips you may find it difficult do things like putting your shoes and socks on, getting in and out of a car.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the hands:
The three main areas of the hand that are affected by OA include:the base of your thumb, the joints closest to your fingertips and the middle joints of your fingers. People with OA of hands may have stiff, painful and swollen fingers, and may develop bumps on the finger joints. In most cases the pain improves with time and eventually disappears but the bumps and swelling may persist. OA of the hand can make doing some manual tasks, such as writing, opening jars or turning keys painful.

Read more articles on Osteoarthritis.



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