Arthritis Alert: 5 Signs of Osteoarthritis
Wondering about that hip pain or creaky knee? Find out whether you could be experiencing arthritis symptoms.
How do you know whether you have osteoarthritis? Or whether your osteoarthritis is getting worse? It's not always easy to know. Some people may not experience any symptoms, even though joint damage is visible on their imaging tests. Then again, other people may experience quite a few symptoms, even with mild signs of joint deterioration.
Here are five telltale signs that you may have new -- or worsening -- osteoarthritis:
1. Pain: Do your joints feel achy with activity and better with rest? Mild osteoarthritis causes pain that comes and goes. More advanced forms of the disease may cause constant pain that restricts movement.
2. Stiffness: Do you feel stiff like the Tin Man? Joint stiffness that's worse in the morning -- lasting less than 30 minutes -- and worse after resting is a common symptom of osteoarthritis. That stiffness may limit your range of motion, although you can help shake it off by moving the joint for a few minutes.
3. Swelling: Do your joints look knobby and swollen? Joint damage triggers the growth of bone spurs, or osteophytes, near joints affected by osteoarthritis.
4. Musical joints: Do you notice creaking, grinding, crunching, or popping sounds when you move? Damaged joints may make noise when bone rubs against bone.
5. Muscle weakness: Do the muscles around your affected joints feel weak? Whether you do it consciously or unconsciously, protecting painful or stiff joints by using them less can lead to weaker muscles around affected joints.
If you notice any of these symptoms, don't despair. You have plenty of options for treating joint symptoms now, which may help slow down the progress of the disease.
Don't tough it out. Find out why it makes so much sense to treat joint problems early on.