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Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Pain in the joint
- Most commonly affected joints are those of the knees, hips, hands, or spine.
- Pain usually increases when the joint is used or stressed.
- Pain is usually decreased by resting the joint.
- May be described as a dull, achy pain or a sharper, stabbing sensation.
- Stiffness can make everyday activities difficult, such as leaning down to pick something up, putting on shoes, opening a jar, walking, or climbing stairs.
- Stiffness occurring first thing in the morning is common, usually lasting under 30 minutes after you resume activity.
- Stiffness after any period of inactivity is common (such as after sitting still for a couple of hours in a movie theater or on an airplane).
- Stiffness decreases your range of motion, so that you can’t bend or unbend a joint as far as you normally could.
- You may have a feeling of instability in the joint. For example, your knee may feel as if it is going to buckle underneath you.
- You may feel or hear a grating or creaking sound when you bend or unbend your joint.
Your joint may develop an abnormal appearance:
- It may appear inflamed, red, swollen.
- It may appear misaligned or misshapen.
Osteoarthritis. Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/conditions-treatments/disease-center/osteoarthritis. Accessed July 23, 2013.
Osteoarthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Osteoarthritis/default.asp. Updated July 2010. Accessed July 23, 2013.
Sinusas, K. Osteoarthritis: Diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2012;85(1):49-56.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2014
- Update Date: 05/07/2014