Do You Have These Early Signs of Osteoarthritis?

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Do You Have These Early Signs of Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common arthritic condition. It is cause by the breakdown of cartridge in your joint. Some of the most common joints for this deterioration are in the hips, fingers, knees, and elbows.

Osteoarthritis can also affect the lower back and people often mistake it for other issues. Thus, it’s important to know the early signs of arthritis, who is at risk to develop it and what’s happening in the body.

Who’s at Risk for Osteoarthritis?

If you have a family history of arthritis, you may be more at risk for osteoarthritis. However, there’s an increased likelihood of developing osteoarthritis for people who are overweight or obese. Some believe this is because the extra weight puts a greater strain on joints especially the hips, spine, and knees. Risk also increases with age as the body naturally deteriorates over the years. Unfortunately, as people age, they assume their joint pain is simply part of getting older and may fail to seek medical assessments.

What Happens to the Joints?

To appreciate better the early signs of arthritis, it helps to understand what’s going on in the joints.

In osteoarthritis, as the cartilage breaks down, swelling of the affected area can cause discomfort. In more advanced cases, cartilage wears away causing bone to rub against bone, creating severe pain in some instances. By being proactive and spotting early signs of arthritis, you can seek treatment before the condition becomes severe.

5 Early Signs of Arthritis

If you have any of these early signs of arthritis, consult a doctor.

1. Pain

Although no one enjoys pain, it is one of life’s greatest teachers. Joint pain is a significant early indicator of osteoarthritis. It is often a deep pain rather than a sharp one.

2. Loss of Flexibility

The loss of a range of motion is an early sign that can indicate osteoarthritis. For example, if you were once able to extend your arm fully but cannot do so because of a loss of flexibility in the elbow, this could be a sign that osteoarthritis is setting in.

3. Swelling of joints

Mild swelling is typically an early sign of rheumatoid arthritis. However, oftentimes, osteoarthritis sufferers will also feel some heat in the joints. In order to get an accurate diagnosis, you need to be aware of this. If swelling occurs a few times a month and lasts for several days each time, it’s time to visit your doctor to determine the cause.

4. Stiffness

If you feel stiff, especially in the morning or after sitting for an extended period, this could be an early sign of a problem with your joints. Stiffness from osteoarthritis does not usually last for a long time. According to the Arthritis Foundation, while morning stiffness may be severe, it usually lasts for less than thirty minutes and occurs after waking up in the morning or after a period of rest.

5. Abnormal Sensations

Cartilage provides a cushion where the bones meet in joints. As that cushion wears away, there can be bone grinding on bone which creates numerous odd sensations. People with osteoarthritis describe symptoms that include clicking, grating, or crackling in their joints.1

The bottom line is that it’s important to stay proactive about your joint health. If you experience any of the above signs of osteoarthritis, do not chalk it up to aging and move on. Consult a doctor immediately to help minimize the pain today and later in life.

1 Healthline. Is This Pain Normal?: 5 Early Symptoms of Osteoarthritis. Available at Accessed October 9, 2015.