5 Common Signs of Osteoarthritis

5 Common Signs of Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is such a widespread problem, we often blame it for most of our aches and pains. But getting an accurate diagnosis is actually an important part of slowing the progression of this chronic disease.

Osteoarthritis develops when the protective tissue that coats the ends of your bones — called cartilage — begins to break down. Without this layer of padding, the bones start rubbing together, triggering discomfort in the joint.

Thomas F. Saylor, MD, of Orthopaedic Care Specialists in North Palm Beach, Florida, specializes in treating painful conditions in the upper extremities, including the hands and wristselbows, and shoulders. In this blog, he discusses the most common signs of osteoarthritis.

1. Location

First and foremost, the location of your symptoms can offer significant clues into what’s behind your pain. To start, osteoarthritis affects a joint, meaning an area in your body where two bones come together. 

Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body. However, it typically develops in the hips, knees, spine, hands, and fingers, but rarely in the ankles, wrists, or elbows.

2. Pain

Another important sign of osteoarthritis involves the type of pain you experience. 

In many cases, you can expect osteoarthritis joint pain to worsen with activity and improve with rest, and the area is often tender when touched. And, as osteoarthritis becomes more severe, it’s also common to have pain even while resting or sleeping.

3. Stiffness and swelling

Years of activity can take a toll on your body, especially your joints. If you have osteoarthritis, you may find your affected joints stiff or swollen after sitting or lying down for long periods. This can occur for several reasons, including:

You might also notice a grating, crackling, or popping sensation when you try to use the joint.

4. Less range of motion

If you’ve noticed changes in how your joints move and function, don’t wait to schedule an appointment. These changes can vary depending on the affected joint. For example, having osteoarthritis in your knee can cause the joint to buckle or give out, but having it in your hands can lead to difficulty gripping and twisting.

5. Age

Anyone can technically develop osteoarthritis. However, this degenerative joint condition typically occurs in people after age 40, and at least 80% of people over age 55 show signs of the disease. This is because osteoarthritis usually develops due to wear and tear on the joints, which leads to cartilage deterioration over time.

When symptoms occur in younger people, it’s often due to obesity, other types of arthritis, or sports and repetitive motion injuries.

Diagnosing and treating osteoarthritis

Dr. Saylor can diagnose osteoarthritis during an office visit. Depending on your case, he may give you a physical exam and order diagnostic imaging and lab tests.

If he confirms you have osteoarthritis, Dr. Saylor can outline a management strategy to ease your symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. In most cases, managing osteoarthritis includes a combination of approaches, such as:

For severe forms of osteoarthritis, Dr. Saylor could also suggest minimally invasive surgery to remove damaged tissue and restore joint function.

If you have osteoarthritis and want treatment, or if you want to see if you have osteoarthritis, call 561-292-0148 or book an appointment online with Orthopaedic Care Specialists today.

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