Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis: Treatments and Assistive Devices


Many people ignore the early symptoms of arthritis partially because they do not know that what they are feeling is not just simple joint pain. As such it is not unusual for an individual to expect that stiffness and pain will eventually go away.

The onset of the disease can produce a general feeling of ill health, but more serious problems could follow. Some types of the disease can affect the tissues of the heart, lungs and kidneys, which can lead to further complications.

The disease affects millions of people in the US, and can have highly debilitating effects. The severity of the illness varies depending on the type of arthritis. This condition does not affect only older people, although it is more common in people over 50 years old.

The sole exception is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The type of the disease will influence the course of treatment. Some cases are easily treatable, with the options including therapy, medication, and in extreme cases, surgery to replace the damaged joint. In many cases, however, it will be a lifelong condition.

Understanding the Signs

It is easy to dismiss some of the symptoms of arthritis as the typical under the weather feeling. Fatigue and fever are common signs of the rheumatic form of the condition. If these signs persist, it is important to consult a doctor for an evaluation.

Some people notice pain that starts early in the morning, but decreases during the course of the day. The signs and the intensity will vary depending on the type of the disease and its progression. Some of the common signs of this illness are:

  • Swelling and tenderness of the joints which is most noticeable in the hands and feet
  • Rheumatoid arthritis tends to cause a fever and sometimes lung inflammation which leads to difficulty breathing

  • General pain and stiffness in the joints
  • Redness in the joint area, and sometimes the area may feel warmer than normal

  • Weight loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes

However, symptoms of arthritis can vary depending on the body parts and the type of arthritis you have. In addition to pain, swelling and redness, other signs of the disease in different joints are:

  • Knees Arthritis: shows up as stiffness, limited in range of motion, looseness of the joint, sometimes feeling as if it will give out. In severe cases deformity of the knees will occur

  • Spinal Arthritis: signs include intermittent back pain, stiffness and sometimes pain that comes on when getting into and out of bed, neck pain and numbness, back pain after activity or that sometimes goes away after exercise, or feelings of weakness of the legs and arms
  • Hip Arthritis: Stiffness and pain on getting out of bed and difficulty moving the hips when doing routine activities. Sitting for long periods results in stiffness of the joints, and feeling like the bones are rubbing against each other

  • Shoulder Arthritis: The signs include limited range of motion, stiffness, tenderness and pain which gets worse with activity
  • Neck Arthritis: Also known as cervical arthritis, when this condition affects the neck the symptoms include headaches, difficulty with walking, weakness of arms, hands, fingers, problems maintaining your balance and neck and shoulder spasms

  • Hand Arthritis has a range of signs including pain, swelling, feeling warm, a grinding sound from the joints or a feeling of the joints being loose, larger than normal joints and in some cases development of cysts on the affected area.
  • Foot and Ankle Arthritis: The most obvious signs of the condition in these body parts are difficulty walking, stiffness and reduced range of motion and deformity of the joint

To come to a diagnosis the doctor will perform a physical examination, and make note of the development of the symptoms. Recognizing the symptoms of arthritis and providing early treatment can help to prevent long term damage to the joints. This can also ward off any possible complications from damage to vital organs. Aside from medication, treatment options include physical therapy, exercise and rest.

More Arthritis Symptoms Articles

Back Arthritis - Back arthritis, a common disease of the spine, causes pain and discomfort in the back, with back pain being the number one form of chronic pain among Americans.

Elbow Arthritis - Living with elbow arthritis can be a challenge, especially during flare-ups, as you need this part of your body to perform many daily tasks, for strength and also support.

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