Symptoms of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most widespread type of the joint disease « arthritis » and the most common symptoms are pain and stiffness in specific joints. The symptoms can differ depending on which joints are affected.


Osteoarthritis is caused by a thinning of the protective layer « cartilage » between the connecting bones in the joint. When the cartilage is too thin, the joint becomes inflamed and can become swollen and the bones will rub together, causing pain. You might also experience a grinding feeling, or even sound in the affected joint, muscle weakness, tenderness and restricted movement of the joint.

Joint pain

If you are experiencing knee osteoarthritis, you will most likely develop it in both knees over time. The pain associated with knee osteoarthritis is usually more intense when you are walking, hence adding pressure to the affected area. Especially going “up” can be tough on the knees.

Osteoarthritis in the hips can be quite severe, since the hips control many of our regular movements. Bending over or lifting your knee upwards can become very difficult and painful. As with knee osteoarthritis, walking usually causes the most pain.

You may also experience osteoarthritis in your spine. Usually the symptoms appear in the more flexible parts of the spine; the neck and lower back. The main symptoms in the neck are pain from stiffness, spasms and difficulties turning your head. If the lower part of the spine is affected, symptoms may be manifested by pain if you are lifting and bending. The pain may stretch all the way to the hips and legs.

It is quite common to experience osteoarthritis in your hands. You may have stiff and swollen fingers, accompanied by pain. Some patients experience a decrease in the pain over time, but the fingers can remain swollen.

Source: NHS

Last updated: 28/02/2019

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