There are over a hundred different forms of arthritis, although the most common are considered to be osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The condition is concerned with inflammation and pain surrounding the joints. Below are some of the early signs and symptoms of these forms of arthritis. If you are interested in further information on the condition and cream products that can help to manage the pain, then take a look out our best arthritis cream reviews.
Joint pain is the most common symptom of arthritis and can often be the early sign people will act on and seek medical care for. The intensity of joint pain that arthritis can cause will vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. Aching pains are common and typically worsen after activity (read here for tips on reducing the pain of arthritis).
Tenderness. Arthritis can cause joints to be tender to the touch. This is often an indicator of inflammation around the joint especially if pressing on the area causing considerable pain as this means the joint lining tissue has irritated the nerves in the joint capsule. This discomfort can cause issues with sleeping.
Swelling. If you’re experiencing the swelling of joints without injury then this may be an early sign of arthritis. This is caused by the thickening of the joint lining tissue and from the excess joint fluid which can irritate the joint capsules nerve endings and cause pain.
Redness and Warmth. Redness and warmth can be an effect of inflammation of the joint caused by arthritis. The redness occurs from the inflammation causing the capillaries to dilate. The warm sensation is also an indicator of inflammation although it can occur without swelling. Redness and warmth around the joints can also indicate an infection and should be checked out by a doctor.
Stiffness. People who suffer from arthritis experience stiff joints which is often worse in the morning or after remaining in one position for a long period of time. This is also an effect of inflammation and can often be managed or eased with treatment.
Deformity. Joint cartilage can be worn away by arthritis and this can cause a deformity in extreme cases. It is possible for arthritis to cause crooked fingers when it affects the hands or a bow-legged appearance. This is due to the erosion of cartilage, bone and the loosening of ligaments especially if gone untreated.
Loss of range of motion
Arthritis can cause a loss of range of motion in joints due to swelling and in severe cases, joints can cease to move permanently. The condition can also cause a loss of joint function and lack of flexibility which can lead to limping, lack of coordination as well as a loss of grip and dexterity.
Limping can occur if arthritis affects the hips, knees, ankles or feet causing pain, loss of range of motion or swelling. Young children with arthritis may experience a painless limp as an early sign of the condition.
Affect both sides of the body
With RA especially, the affected joints are usually on both sides of the body and is often symmetric. However, the intensity of this pain can vary due to a wide range of factors such as the severity of the condition, age and even the time of day. Arthritis can also affect many joints including the small joints of the hands, wrists and balls of the feet as well as knees, elbows, hips, ankles, and shoulders. If the inflammation occurs in more than four joints then it is known as polyarthritis.
Abnormal grinding sensations
This is another effect of arthritis causing joint cartilage to be worn away which can expose the bone. This can cause a strange, grinding sensation that can even be heard at times.
Pockets of fluid
Mucous cysts are pockets of fluid caused by arthritis. They cause a lumpy appearance around the joints and are often noticed on the small joints of the fingers before other parts of the body. Bone spurs can also occur as a response to inflammation and have a similar knobbly appearance. These symptoms or early signs can often be painless but can cause numbness or a prickly sensation.
Chronic inflammation caused by some severe forms of arthritis can cause the bone marrow to decrease the release of red blood cells. This can cause anemia which has its own range of symptoms including dizziness, headache, and low body temperature.
Fever can occur in some people with arthritis and you may notice an increase in temperature during periods of inflammation. It is important to be aware of your regular temperature and the risk of joint infection.
Arthritis can lead to depression as it is a chronic condition that can often have an effect on many areas of your life. Aside from the expected levels of frustration caused by arthritis, a type of ‘reactive depression’ can also occur. It is important to seek medical help if you are struggling with your mental health as an effect of your physical condition.
Fatigue is a common symptom of some forms of arthritis and is often a reaction to inflammation, lack of sleep and anemia. This lack of energy can cause issues and discomfort in several aspects of a person’s life and is also associated with lack of appetite and weight loss.