There are over 100 types of arthritis known in the medical profession. One of the most widely known forms is osteoarthritis. The disorder is caused from overuse/work of a specific joint. Osteoarthritis wears down joints over the stages of a person’s lifetime. It is possible for symptoms to appear at any point in life, but symptoms typically appear in older adults.
Pain from osteoarthritis begins as the cartilage between the bones is broken down. This leads to the bones in the joint to rub together. Experts tend to agree, any person who lives long enough, will begin to show signs of arthritis. This does depend on how much the joint has endured throughout life or if it has been through a major injury. The most vulnerable joints in the body tend to be weight-bearing, such as: hips, knees, shoulders and spine.
Rheumatoid Arthritis v. Osteoarthritis
Below you will find a list of early symptoms of osteoarthritis you should never ignore. If you begin experiencing any of these symptoms contact the Arthritis Consultants of Eastern Tennessee to set up an appointment. One of our trained rheumatologist will make sure you get you set up on a proper treatment plan.
- Stiffness – Stiffness associated with osteoarthritis typically occurs after inactivity. Pain tends to be relieved by involving yourself in activity or stretching. If the pain lasts longer than 30 minutes, the patient may suffer from inflammatory arthritis.
- Pain – One of the first symptoms associated with arthritis is pain. Osteoarthritis is joint pain which tends to get better as the day goes on and the body remains active. Rheumatoid arthritis is felt more when the body is at rest or has been at rest for a long period of time. Patients with RA may also feel fatigued throughout the day due to the illness.
- Bone Spurs – Bone spurs occur when bits of the bone get deposited around the infected joints. It is easy to see in the fingers and toes due to the fact they look somewhat deformed or larger than usual.
- Swelling – The patient’s joints are not only going to feel pain and stiffness, but they may experience some mild swelling as well. The swelling will increase as the condition progresses.
- Timeframe – Osteoarthritis gradually appears over time as the cartilage is worn away at the joint. RA develops quickly, and can appear within weeks or months.
- Flexibility – Over time, the condition of the patient’s joints may make it more difficult to bend over at the waist or bend their knee’s completely. This will eventually impact their ability to walk up and down steps.
- Hands – Hands is the most common area for both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis to appear. One of the best ways to tell the difference between RA and OA? Rheumatoid arthritis affects the knuckles of the hand, while osteoarthritis affects the end joints of the fingers.
- Clicking – Patients with osteoarthritis may experience a “clicking” sound due to the lack of cartilage between the joints.
- Labs – OA can be diagnosed based on a yearly physical exam and x-rays. For other types of arthritis, you may have to have blood work done to determine the specific type of arthritis you are suffering from
- Asymmetry – It is relatively common for osteoarthritis to only affect one side of the body, whereas rhuematoid arthritis will appear symmetrically (in both knees, as opposed to just one).
Contact Us Today!
Arthritis Consultants of East Tennessee specializes in rheumatologic care, which is the practice of assessing joints, muscles, and bones for pain, swelling, stiffness, and deformity. Contact us or call 865-503-2001 today to find out how we can help you get your life back on track.