Glossary On Symptoms

I can’t squat on the floor as easily as before, I can’t climb up and down the stairs with the same ease any more, I dread the monsoon for it worsens all my joints … these are few of the common expressions you may have heard in your day-today life. These are common pointers towards Osteoarthritis.

The symptoms usually have a gradual onset and initially the patient may not realize it until the symptoms significantly affect daily functions.

Here is a list of some of the common symptoms that trouble OA patients:

  • Deep aching joint pain that tends to be chronic
    • Worsens after exercise
    • Worsens from putting weight on the joint
    • Worse in monsoon
    • Is relieved by rest
  • Grating of the joint with motion
  • Joint swelling, warmth  
  • Limited mobility of the joint  
  • Morning stiffness
  • Complaints may increase after a period of inactivity, e.g. sitting for a long time
  • Hard lumps (Bone spurs) may form around the affected joint; commonly known as Heberden’s nodes when it affects the small joints at the end of the fingers
  • Deformity and outward curvature of the knees referred to as ‘bowlegged’ (in advanced cases)
  • ‘Bunion’ is an osteoarthritic swelling of the base joint of the big toe
  • Limping (in cases of affection of weight bearing joints)
  • Neck pain, lower back pain (in affections of the cervical or lumbar spine)
  • Affection of joints of the spine can irritate spinal nerves causing severe pain, tingling and numbness in areas which are supplied by the affected nerve

The intensity of the symptoms varies from case to case. Some patients may have severe complaints though the X-rays may not show equivalent damage to the joint. On the other hand there are cases with extensive damage to the joint but the patients may experience only mild complaints.