Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis
The pain and stiffness typical of osteoarthritis are usually gradual in onset. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, usually worsen with use or movement, and are relieved by rest. In its most severe form, pain may be present even at rest, including at night. The degenerative process may begin in one or more joints, usually the knees, hips, hands, feet or spine (neck and/or lower back).
As with any chronic pain, individual experience is extremely variable. People who have osteoarthritis often complain of a deep ache centered in the joint. However, some people with osteoarthritis describe the pain as throbbing, gnawing or sharp. Rest usually relieves osteoarthritic pain, although the pain becomes more constant as the disease progresses. Significant pain during the night can interfere with sleep. Sleep disruption of this kind suggests severe (end-stage) osteoarthritis.
Typical Symptoms And Signs
Typical symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- Joint pain and swelling. These symptoms may occur in response to activity or a change in weather. The joints may feel swollen or appear swollen to you or to someone else.
- Limited flexibility. You may notice a brief period of stiffness after a period of immobility (for example, for a few minutes when you wake up in the morning). This condition is called "gelling."
- Bone enlargement. Bony lumps may form at the end of affected fingers (Heberden's nodes) or on the middle joint of the fingers (Bouchard's nodes).
- Grinding sensation. A grinding sensation called crepitus may occur as bones within a degenerated joint rub against one another. Sometimes crepitus is audible with joint motion, or it may be felt through the skin over the moving joint.
- Numbness or tingling. This sensation may occur in an extremity if arthritis of the spine or elsewhere has led to pressure on a nerve.