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Osteoarthritis - Symptoms

I can’t squat on the floor as easily as I used to do before, I can’t climb up and down the stairs with the same ease any more, I dread the monsoon as it worsens all my joints … these are some of the expressions frequently heard in our day-to-day life. These signs basically indicate the advent of osteoarthritis.

The symptoms start gradually in most cases, and the patient might not realise until the symptoms worsen and begin to affect their regular functioning.

Some of the common symptoms of osteoarthritis are:

  • Deep aching joint pain that is mostly chronic in nature
  • Grating of the joint with motion
  • Joint swelling and warmth
  • Morning stiffness
  • Pain worsens after exercise
  • Pain worsens due to putting weight on joint
  • Pain worsens during monsoon
  • Pain alleviated with rest
  • Limited mobility of joint
  • Complaints can increase after a period of inactivity, e.g., sitting for a long time
  • Hard lumps known as bone spurs can be created around the affected joint
  • ‘Bunion’ is an osteoarthritic swelling at the base joint of the big toe
  • Deformity and outward curvature of the knees known as ‘bowlegged’ (occurs in
    severe cases)
  • Limping (when weight bearing joints are affected)
  • Neck pain, lower back pain (when cervical or lumbar spine is affected)
  • Severe pain, tingling and numbness in areas supplied by the affected nerve (when joints of the spine are affected)

The severity of symptoms differs from individual to individual. Some of the patients can have severe complaints but the X-ray analysis may not reveal a comparable damage of the joint. Vice versa, cases with extensive deterioration of the joint might experience only mild complaints.

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