It’s normal to feel pain from time to time. The grind of daily life, injuries, or simply being on your feet for too long can leave you with sore, achy joints. It’s important, however, to distinguish daily aches and pains from symptoms of a degenerative condition like osteoarthritis.
Of the over 100 types of arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common, affecting over 32.5 million adults. It develops when the cartilage — a cushioning substance in your joints — wears away over time, leaving your bones to rub against each other.
At Nebben Physical Medicine, our team knows how important early identification is to symptom relief and damage prevention. By being on the lookout for the symptoms of osteoarthritis, you can take control of your joint health and get the treatment you need as quickly as possible.
These are the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis:
Osteoarthritis can be painful for several reasons. The impact of bone on bone can be enough to send sharp waves of pain with every movement. As the cartilage wears away, your tendons and ligaments often stretch, which can also be painful.
In the earliest phases of osteoarthritis, you may notice symptoms after activity or right away in the morning. As it progresses, it’s not uncommon for osteoarthritis to be painful even when you’re resting. You might also feel joint tenderness when you press on the affected joint.
Joint pain and tenderness are almost always the first indicators that osteoarthritis has set in. It’s crucial to note any new or worsening pain and get an evaluation as soon as possible.
When osteoarthritis damages your joint, your body responds by increasing the amount of fluid in the joint. This rush of fluids causes your joint to swell quickly.
As your joint becomes more swollen and painful, it might also become increasingly stiff. Joint stiffness not only exacerbates pain and contributes to further damage, but it can also hinder your range of motion and flexibility.
These compounding symptoms make it difficult and sometimes impossible to work, participate in your normal activities, and enjoy hobbies.
Another common sign of osteoarthritis is heard rather than felt. If you hear popping, cracking, or grating sounds as you move your joint, it may indicate you have osteoarthritis.
These bony projections develop along the edges of your bones most often as the result of osteoarthritis.
As your joints lose cartilage and your bones rub together, your body attempts to repair the damage by creating extra bone cells. This in turn causes bone spurs, which can contribute to your pain and other symptoms.
Anyone, regardless of age or background, can develop osteoarthritis, but a few factors increase your risk, including:
Osteoarthritis can impact virtually any of the 360 joints in your body, but it most often occurs in the knees, hips, spine, wrists, fingers, and any other area that bears weight or moves frequently.
There’s no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are effective treatments, from lifestyle adjustments to minimally invasive procedures. Depending on your needs, we may recommend:
We may also encourage you to lose weight and make some other changes to your health and wellness to relieve your symptoms and avoid additional joint damage.
If you suspect that you have osteoarthritis and would like to be evaluated by one of our experts, request an appointment online or call our Clarksville, Tennessee, office today.