Nearly one-quarter of the U.S. population (22.7%) experiences some form of arthritis. While symptoms vary from one type to the next, one of the telltale signs of the condition is joint pain. If you suspect you could have arthritis, here’s what you should know about the symptoms.
Known as arthralgia, the pain associated with arthritis can begin as a burning sensation. It may also present as a dull ache. Most people begin to feel this discomfort in a particular joint after prolonged use, such as long hours spent doing yard work. For others, it flares up first thing in the morning, and others still may experience an achy feeling when it rains or there are changes in humidity.
The pain is often accompanied by swelling, caused by increased synovial fluid within the joint. Under normal circumstances, this fluid helps to cushion the joint. In excess, however, it can restrict your range of motion and intensify pain levels.
Depending on the type of arthritis you have, you may experience pain differently. Here are the characteristics of some of the more common types of arthritis.
- Osteoarthritis: Known as wear-and-tear arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and develops over time as the protective cartilage between joints wears away. While it can affect any joint, it often develops in large, weight-bearing joints such as the hips, knees, and lower back. It may also occur in the fingers and toes, however. Pain from this form of arthritis may be pronounced in the morning and alleviate as you get moving and the day goes on.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Also characterized by pain and joint swelling, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) develops symmetrically. If you have pain and swelling in one hand, for instance, you’ll likely have it on the other side. Because the condition can affect the whole body, you may also experience widespread symptoms such as shortness of breath and fever.
- Psoriatic arthritis: Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune condition, similar to rheumatoid arthritis. In addition to joint pain, psoriatic arthritis also causes rashes, which appear as red patches topped by silvery scales.
- Gout: Gout is a type of arthritis that typically targets the joint in the big toe. It may also affect other joints, including the knees and ankles. The pain is often intense, and can either flare repeatedly in the same joint or move to different joints. Fortunately, there are medications available to both control and prevent gout flares.
No matter which type of arthritis you think you could have, it’s important to seek treatment soon after you start noticing symptoms. In doing so, you may be able to control future joint damage and pain levels so you can maintain your daily routine uninterrupted.
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This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine, also known as Stem Cell Therapy in Tampa. Regenerative medicine seeks to replace tissue or organs that have been damaged by disease, trauma, or congenital issues.