8 Signs of Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is a disease from which millions of people around the world suffer. It is a potentially life changing disorder characterized by joint inflammation and chronic pain. Healthy joints glide easily without discomfort because of the articular cartilage that covers the ends of the connecting bones. When this smooth, elastic tissue gradually wears away, it is referred to as osteoarthritis. The condition is most commonly seen in the hands, neck, hips, lower back and knees.

Osteoarthritis can be a hereditary disorder, although it is also diagnosed in those with no genetic predisposition to the condition. It may afflict young people as well, but is most often diagnosed in those over fifty. The condition is more common in women than men, which may be due to hormonal changes that occur after menopause.

1. Joint Pain

One of the most overt signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis is pain in the joints. This is caused by the erosion of cartilage. Once a significant amount of cartilage has been worn away, the person’s bones begin rubbing against each other at the level of the joint. This creates the mild to severe pain felt with most types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis. In certain cases, the pain is debilitating and the person avoids moving the joint at all, which sometimes ultimately exacerbates the condition. However, there is sometimes a considerable wearing away of cartilage before a person begins to experience pain from the condition.

Joint pain is often described as “radiating,” such as pain running from the hip joint down the side of the leg or from the neck area into the person’s back. In certain cases, a patient may develop bad posture in an attempt to avoid pain by sitting or standing “around” the affected joint so that it is not irritated. However, the long-term result of poor posture is typically pain and soreness in other areas of the body. In some cases, pain from osteoarthritis is described as a dull ache, but sharp or radiating pain is somewhat more common.