The pain and stiffness in the joints are the primary characteristics of osteoarthritis. The pain is observed to be present mostly in the morning and in the evening and hence it is called as “first movement pain”. The pain improves as the day progresses and as the individual starts to carry out his daily activities.
The symptoms of osteoarthritis usually develop gradually and become worse as time passes by. Based on the type of joint that is affected, the people suffering from osteoarthritis might encounter certain symptoms in the joints like enlargement of bone, swelling, pain, and stiffness.
As the joints are affected by the problem, the daily activities like climbing stairs will become difficult. Osteoarthritis mostly occurs initially in one or two joints and develops targeting the joints that are weight-bearing like knee, hip, hands, spine and small hand joints.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
The osteoarthritis leads to deep pain in the joint that is affected and the movement of that joint will be reduced simultaneously. In osteoarthritis, people usually experience the pain in the joints which will increase as the day progresses. Some people were reported to have experienced more pain in the early morning.
The osteoarthritis pain mainly is triggered by damage of joints. When the bone over-growths rub each other, it might result in pain. If there is limitation of joint movement, it may lead to some more injuries.
Rubbing or grating occurs within the joint when the person bends or kneels or climbs the stairs.
If the cartilage wears away at the bone endings and if the cushion is lost, then the pain intensity might increase. The complete cartilage destruction might cause severe pain which might not be present in the damaged joint and is felt in the other areas.
Stiffness due to Inactivity
After sitting or sleeping for a long period, a person might experience stiffness near the osteoarthritis joints. The stiffness normally ends in about half an hour and the condition will be improved if the person performs some mild activity.
Enlargement of the Bone and Swelling near the Bone
The cartilage breaks down gradually and leads to the extreme growth of the bones or spurs at the end of the bones. These bone growths enhances the swelling and irritation.
If the cartilage erodes, it causes some irritation in the synovial membrane that is surrounding the joint. The irritation of this smooth tissue will lead to the production of excessive fluid accumulated in the joint. This collected fluid might result in occasional and continuous swelling.
Swelling due to Injury
If there is any injury at the joint, which is encountering osteoarthritis, any prominent swelling is not observed while the tissue might become red, tender and warm due to the injury. In this context, osteoarthritis differs from rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis causes joint inflammation while rarely osteoarthritis causes mild inflammation near the joints. The reason for the mild inflammation of joints in the case of osteoarthritis is not clearly known.