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Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Osteoarthritis is a disease that is caused by normal wear and tear on joints as well as trauma to a joint or joints. As time goes on constant use of a joint causes wear on the cartilage inside the joint. The purpose of the cartilage inside the joint is to provide shock absorption and to provide a smooth surface for the joint to move on. As the osteoarthritis causes the cartilage to brake down the surface inside the joints becomes rough which causes bone damage and inflammation.  Inflammation causes cartilage and bone are further damaged as the bones rub together.

Osteoarthritis Symptoms come more likely with age.

Osteoarthritis is a type of degenerative arthritis. It develops as we age because of the damage that slowly happens over time to joints. It affects approximately 20 million people in the United States. The condition affects both men and women and occurs primarily in individuals over 40 years of age. Trauma to a joint is the main cause of osteoarthritis for people under the age of 40.

Osteoarthritis most frequently occurs in the knees, hips, ankles, hands and other weight bearing joints. This is because there is more stress put on these joints which cause more wear than with non weight bearing joints.

Causes of Osteoarthritis Symptoms

.Primary osteoarthritis is commonly linked to old age when the cartilage naturally breaks down due to wear and tear of the joint. Trauma to a joint such as in an accident it another primary cause.  Physical conditions, such as congenital defects and obesity cause secondary osteoarthritis. Risk factors of osteoarthritis include:

  • Overuse or injury to the joint in accidents and sports
  • Trauma to a joint
  • Dislocating a joint
  • Genetic defects that affect the cartilage
  • Diabetes, gout and other hormone disorders
  • Poor posture
  • Bow legs

Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Symptoms vary from person to person even though each person suffering from osteoarthritis has joint deterioration. It is usually thought of as a progressive disease, one that gets worse over time. Some people find the condition incapacitating while others have very few symptoms. Pain, the primary symptom of the disease, is commonly brought on through activity; however, it could be present even when the body is at rest. Examples of Osteoarthritis Symptoms include:

  • Loss of movement
  • Stiffness and swelling in the joints
  • Snapping of the joints
  • Bony growths at the joints and abnormal angulation.

Osteoarthritis Symptoms of the knee, the actual appearance of the knee may change over time. Some people may become knock-kneed or bow- legged. If you don't move the affected joint, muscles surrounding the joint will become weaker and sometimes shrink.

Osteoarthritis Symptoms of the hip, the pain may cause you to limp. Also, you may feel pain around the groin or inner thigh. The affected leg may appear shorter in cases of osteoarthritis of the hip. Putting on your shoes and tying the laces become difficult.

Osteoarthritis Symptoms in the fingers, the breakdown of cartilage causes bone spurs in these joints. Spurs in the end joints of fingers are called Heberden's nodes, which occur most often in women and sometimes as early as 40. Spurs in the middle joints of the fingers are called Bouchard's nodes.

Your doctor will determine what type of arthritis you have. He or she will ask you about your symptoms and any related illnesses and it will be important for you to tell the physician about where, when and how long you have had pain, whether there is any swelling or redness in the involved joints and if there is any history of arthritis in your family. The doctor will perform a careful examination of your joints to determine if there is any swelling, redness, tenderness or loss of motion. x-rays will allow the doctor to see inside your joints and determine if there has been any destruction of cartilage with narrowing of the normal joint space or wear and tear on the bones. Blood tests may also be of value in differentiating rheumatoid arthritis from osteoarthritis and other types of arthritis.

Regardless of the type of arthritis that a person has, many patients will experience some difficulty functioning at home, at work or at play because of joint pain, stiffness, and loss of motion. Arising from bed in the morning, buttoning buttons, writing, sewing, meal preparation, dressing, sleeping, walking, climbing stairs, arising from a chair or a toilet seat, and attending to matters of personal hygiene may all be impaired to some degree by arthritis. Oftentimes, impairment of function is more distressing to patients than the pain of arthritis and a major goal of all arthritis treatment is the preservation or improvement of function.

Osteoarthritis Resources for more information on Osteoarthritis







This web site is intended for your own informational purposes only. No person or entity associated with this web site purports to be engaging in the practice of medicine through this medium. The information you receive is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician or other health care professional. If you have an illness or medical problem, contact your health care provider.

Arthritis can develop as a result of an infection. For example, bacteria that cause gonorrhea or Lyme disease can cause arthritis. Infectious arthritis can cause serious damage, but usually clears up completely with antibiotics. Scleroderma is a systemic disease that involves the skin, but may include problems with blood vessels, joints, and internal organs. Fibromyalgia syndrome is soft-tissue rheumatism that doesn't lead to joint deformity, but affects an estimated 5 million Americans, mostly women. The approximate number of cases in the United States of some common forms of arthritis. is an informational out reach of the Consumer Health Information Network. It is our goal to provide up to date information about arthritis and other inflammatory and bone conditions in a easy to understand format.

Where we get our information.

Most of the information in the site is compiled by editors from information provided by the National Institutes of Health. We are in the process of updating our pages. In the past we have not made reference to the source for information provide by our editors. In the next few weeks we hope to have all our pages marked as to the source.

We have included information from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Pages that uses information from this source are so acknowledged.

We have contributing authors that send information. Where information is provided by an outside author it is acknowledged by a byline under the title.

Updates of Pages.

Not all of our pages have a date as to the last update. We are in the processes of reviewing all our pages and as we do we include a reference as to when the page was updated. This web site was first published in January of 2003. All pages in the site were created at sometime during or after that time.