Facebook Twitter instagram Youtube
Arthritis: You should be aware of these 8 early warning signs

Arthritis: You should be aware of these 8 early warning signs

Arthritis: You should be aware of these 8 early warning signs


Arthritis is one of those medical conditions that people do not give too much importance to until it inflicts them. But it may be too late by then. The management of arthritis depends on the time of diagnosis. Early diagnosis can translate into a better prognosis. That is why it is essential to have an eagle eye on the early warning signs of arthritis. Let's unravel arthritis which often catches us off guard.


What is arthritis?


Arthritis is an inflammatory condition of joints. It affects the tissues around joints and other connective tissues, causing pain and stiffness in your joints. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, the most common being rheumatoid osteoarthritis and arthritis. But when people refer to arthritis, they mostly mean osteoarthritis.


Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and has affected millions worldwide. Wear and tear of the protective cartilage (the slippery hard tissue covering the joints) causes osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can damage any joint, but it most commonly affects the joints of your knees, hips, hands, and spine. It becomes more common with age. 


Arthritis does not have any cure. But we can slow down its progression. The key is early identification of warning signs and taking necessary steps.  


What are the causes of arthritis?


Osteoarthritis occurs due to deterioration of the cartilage cushioning the bony ends of our joints. It is a wear-and-tear condition not only affects the joints but can cause a change in the bones and connective tissue. Some factors can increase the risk of osteoarthritis:

  • Older age: With age, the risk of osteoarthritis increases
  • Gender predisposition: Females have a higher risk of osteoarthritis due to susceptibility to calcium deficiency.
  • Obesity: Increased weight puts additional stress on our weight-bearing joints. Also, fat tissues synthesize proteins causing inflammation in and around our joints.
  • History of joint injuries: Injuries incurred during sports or accidents can increase your risk of osteoarthritis. Even those injuries that may have happened ages ago and apparently healed are more susceptible to arthritis.
  • Genetics: Some people are more prone to arthritis due to their genetic makeup
  • Repeated stress on the joint: If you put repeated pressure on your joints, you may be prone to arthritis.
  • Bone deformities: People with defective cartilage or malformed joints make you prone to arthritis
  • Metabolic diseases: Certain metabolic diseases like diabetes and hemochromatosis can be a risk factor for arthritis

What are the early warning signs of arthritis?

  • Joint Pain

Joint pain is the number one sign of arthritis. The intensity of the pain differs from person to person. The pain is due to wear and tear of joints and muscle tightness. With age, cartilage can become thin, dry, and stiff.


  • Reduced Joint movement

Osteoarthritis may make you feel that something is not going well with your joints. You may feel restricted joint movement. You may feel your knee is not moving smoothly, or your elbow feels like not moving at all. These can be initial signs of symptoms.


  • Difficult mornings

One of the most common warning signs of arthritis is morning stiffness. You may get up with pain in your joints. When we sleep, our joints do not move. They become stiff and dry, causing morning uneasiness. Though this stiffness goes away when you move the joint a few times and fluids get into the joint cavity. 


  • Joint stiffness after resting for a while 

Do you feel joint stiffness after taking a rest for a while? It can be a sign of arthritis. Our joints have synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints and reduces friction. While resting, the fluid becomes more gelatinous, causing joint stiffness. The synovial fluid becomes thin once we start the motion, thus normalizing the joints.


  • Grating sound from joints

Sometimes you may feel a creaking or grating sound from a particular joint. It can be a sign of arthritis. The grating sound is due to the destruction of joint tissues (cartilage or bones) and the narrowing of the joint cavity (the space between two bones).

Some patients may experience pain along with this grating sound. 


  • Pain in joint injured ages ago

Sometimes you may feel pain in the joint that got injured long back. A history of trauma to the joint can increase your risk of arthritis. Trauma can make the joint susceptible to wear and tear, causing cartilage destruction.


  • Hip or Groin Pain

Pain in the hip joint can be a warning signal of arthritis in the hips. You may feel that you have pulled the groin, but it can be arthritis. The hip is a ball and socket joint, arthritis of which may cause pain in the upper groin or outer thigh.


  • Unilateral joint pain

It is common in patients with arthritis of joints on one side of the body. The wear and tear of joints may not be the same for both sides of the body. Thus one can experience symptoms only on one side. 


How to Reduce or Improve Osteoarthritis Symptoms?

You can follow a few simple steps to decrease the risk of osteoarthritis:

  • Avoid too much kneeling, twisting, and walking
  • Low-impact exercise can help maintain body weight, relieve stiffness, reduce pain and fatigue, and increase muscle and bone strength.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight, as excessive weight is one of the risk factors for arthritis.
  • Give your joints adequate rest: If there is swelling and pain in your joints, give them some rest for at least a day.
  • Manage blood sugar levels: High blood sugar levels can accelerate cartilage loss and make cartilage stiff, thus increasing susceptibility towards bone loss.


The conclusion:

Osteoarthritis affects millions of people around the world. When the protective cartilage cushioning the bony ends of the joints wears down with time, we feel pain and discomfort. Arthritis can affect any joint but is more common in the wrists, knees, hips, and spine.

There is no definitive treatment for osteoarthritis. The damage to joints, once done, can't be undone. Prompt identification of the early signs of arthritis, an active lifestyle, and healthy body weight can help you prevent and manage this lifelong condition. In osteoarthritis, modern joint replacement surgery is very successful in controlling symptoms maintaining activity requirement for an individual.





Dr. Rajiv Ranjan Sinha
Meet The Doctor
Back to top