Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is caused by the deterioration of the joint cartilage and underlying bone. It causes pain and decreased motion of the affected joints, which can sometimes be severe.

Common Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

The most common symptom of osteoarthritis is joint pain after repetitive use. This may cause the pain to occur later in the day. Although symptoms can vary greatly, other symptoms may include:

  • Tenderness, warmth, stiffness and swelling of the affected joint(s)
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Stiffness and pain after periods of inactivity
  • Sound when the joint is used, described as grinding, crunching, grating, clicking or creaking

If the osteoarthritis is severe, pain is often experienced even with limited motion and at rest. For some, the pain can be debilitating. For others, the same joint degeneration has only moderate impact on their lives. Symptoms may be intermittent with long periods between bouts of pain. This is especially true for those dealing with osteoarthritis of the hands and knees.

Although the symptoms listed above are typical of all joints with osteoarthritis, certain additional symptoms are joint-specific.

Osteoarthritis of the Neck and Spine

Osteoarthritis of the neck and spine often causes severe disability. The physical effects and pain may lead to feelings of depression and helplessness. The following symptoms are also reported:

  • Pain or stiffness in the neck or lower back
  • Headache originating in the neck
  • Inability to bend the neck or fully turn the head, which can detrimentally affect activities such as driving

When combined with pressure on the spinal cord or bone spurs pressing on the nerves, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Bone spurs affecting the nerves cause numbness, tingling, weakness and severe pain. Pain may radiate (described as shooting) into the extremities.
  • Lack of coordination may occur, as well as difficulty walking.
  • Muscle spasms may be present.
  • Bladder and/or bowel incontinence may be experienced.

Osteoarthritis of the Hip

  • Pain and stiffness after extended periods of inactivity, such as getting up after sleep and lengthy periods of sitting, are often experienced.
  • Individuals may not be able to move the hip to accomplish routine tasks such as putting on socks.

Osteoarthritis of the Knee

  • Patients may experience increased pain with activity that gets slightly better with rest.
  • Decreased flexibility and range of motion makes getting in and out of cars and chairs, using stairs and walking difficult and painful.

Osteoarthritis of the Ankle or Foot

  • This condition affects the ability to walk or bear weight on the affected joint.
  • Osteoarthritis occurring in the joint at the base of the big toe often leads to the development of bunions.

At Southeast Orthopedic Specialists, our team of Florida orthopedic doctors, physical therapists and sports medicine specialists can diagnose your problem and design a customized treatment and rehabilitation program that can get you moving again without pain. Call us or contact us online today to schedule an appointment.


John Redmond, MD

Joint Replacement & Hip Preservation Specialist

Southeast Orthopedic Specialist is proud to introduce the newest member to our team, Dr. John Redmond. Dr. Redmond is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Medical School. He then completed his residency in Orthopedic Surgery at Mayo Clinic...



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