What are the Most Common Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?

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  • Written By: Nat Robinson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2018
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Osteoarthritis is a disorder of the joints often known as degenerative joint disease. It causes the cartilage in the joints to break down. This is the most typical form of arthritis. When the cartilage deteriorates significantly, the joints may lose most of their cushion and bones may begin to rub against each other. The symptoms of osteoarthritis will usually be different in every individual and the symptoms usually worsen with age.

Several factors may contribute to a person developing osteoarthritis. Sometimes, past injuries, such as frequent sprains and strains and previously broken bones may lead to the condition. Often, overuse of certain joints by repetitive activities can cause the breakdown of joint cartilage as well. An excessive amount of stress may also be placed on the joints by being overweight. Osteoarthritis can potentially occur in any joint, however, it is most prone to develop in the knees, hands, back and hips.

Some individuals will experience multiple symptoms of osteoarthritis and the symptoms may vary according to the body part affected by the condition. For instance, the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis and the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the hip may be quite different. Most people with osteoarthritis will experience joint pain. The pain may intensify upon exertion or applying pressure to the offending joint. Although, in some incidences, an individual may have joint pain without having taken part in any kind of physical activity.


Additional symptoms of osteoarthritis may include weakness and stiffness in the joints and muscles. Frequently, the stiffness will be worst early in the morning and it may subside as the day moves forth. Often, the joints will be unable to attain a normal range of motion. There may also be a significant amount of swelling surrounding the affected joints.

At some point, an individual may be able to feel the sensation of his or her bones rubbing against each other. He or she may also be able to hear grinding sounds from the disturbance. These symptoms of osteoarthritis may cause even a minimal amount of movement to be burdensome. When osteoarthritis gets to this point of deterioration, it may be difficult to do normal daily activities such as walking and attending to personal hygiene. Many people at this phase of the condition's progression may be forced to use a walker or cane to get around.

To treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis, a person may receive corticosteroid injections. Many doctors will also prescribe pain relievers such as anti-inflammatory medicines and acetaminophen. Physical therapy may be suggested to restrengthen joints most affected by this condition. Although, it is not a very common practice, some people with debilitating symptoms may be required to undergo surgery for symptom relief.



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