8 Early signs of arthritis

8 Early Signs of Arthritis that You Should Be Aware Of!

“Oh, no. It’s just because I walked a lot yesterday. It’s not arthritis, I’m only 25!”.

You’d be surprised to see a young woman or man needing to take a break and sit down for a bit while out and about, but the truth is – arthritis doesn’t just happen to old people. Almost 1.3 crore Indians suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, and most of them are between 20 and 40 years old women.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is when one or more joints in your body gets inflamed and swollen, causes pain, and is tender to touch. It causes joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and a reduced range of motion, and these signs of arthritis get worse as you grow older. There are 3 main types of arthritis, two of which are fairly common:

1. Osteoarthritis

In osteoarthritis, the flexible tissue at the ends of your bones slowly wears down. It causes joint pain in the hands, neck, lower back, knees, or hips.

2. Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA is a chronic progressive disease that causes inflammation in the joints, especially those of the fingers, wrists, feet, and ankles, and leads to painful deformities and immobility. It happens when your immune system starts to attack its own tissues.

3. Psoriatic Arthritis

Arthritis brought on by psoriasis, a skin disease. Its symptoms include joint pain, swelling, and stiffness, which may worsen and subside. Many people with this condition are affected by morning stiffness.

What is the Situation in India?

Over 15 crore Indians suffer from knee problems. The most common arthritis in India today is age-related degenerative arthritis. And while on average, females start experiencing knee problems at 50, men do it at 60. Around 90% of Indian women have a vitamin D deficiency (which controls bone mechanism). And activities like squatting, sitting cross-legged, walking in uncomfortable footwear, and using Indian toilets further strains the knees and make things worse. In fact, it is estimated that in the next 10 years, arthritis, especially that of the knee, will be the 4th most common cause of physical disability in India.

Early Signs of Arthritis

If any joint in your body is stiff, noisy, or hurts, it could be the beginning of arthritis. If you see any of these early signs of arthritis happening to you, maybe it’s time to see an orthopedic surgeon.

1. Joint Pain

If your joints hurt after a long day or after you have been active, you need to take it seriously. An aching joint that gets worse over time is indicative of arthritis.

2. Swollen and Tender Joints

While this is mostly a later arthritis symptom, sometimes, it shows up in the beginning. Arthritis makes your joints swell up and tender to touch. It can also be painful to press down on it.

3. Stiff Joints, Especially in the Morning

If your joints get stiff after you have been sitting for hours, or after you have been active, it might be an early sign of arthritis. If your joints feel stiff for over half an hour in the morning, it is a classic symptom of rheumatoid arthritis.

4. Aching (or Stiff) Hands and Feet

Most types of inflammatory arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, first show up in the small joints of your hands, wrists, and feet. It might also be harder to move and bend your toes in the morning because your feet are stiff.

5. If an Injured Joint Starts to Hurt

If you have suffered from some kind of injury to your body at some point in life, the trauma makes you likely to get osteoarthritis later in life. If a previous injury has suddenly started to hurt, it might be an early sign of arthritis.

6. Aching Joints on Both Sides of the Body – Symmetrical Pain

If both of your wrists are hurting, or both of your knees (or any set of joints in your body, but on each side), then that could mean that you need to consult an orthopedic surgeon for rheumatoid arthritis. RA causes the same joints on both sides of your body to hurt.

7. Grinding Sounds and Sensations when they Move

If a joint makes a grinding sound or sensation when you move it, that could be because the cartilage around the bones has worn down. This is a sign of arthritis and commonly affects the knee and the hip among other joints.

8. Pain in the Groin

If you have hip arthritis, instead of radiating to the outside of the hip, the pain radiates to the groin. However, it can also make your thighs and hips hurt.

Early Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that results in chronic inflammation of joints. It first shows up by causing minor symptoms on both sides of the body, but these symptoms come and go before it progresses over months. It doesn’t always cause swelling and redness at first, but can cause pain, tenderness, and weakness, and can make you feel fatigued and unwell. The most common symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis is stiffness.

Usually, rheumatoid arthritis affects fingers and toes first. With it, it takes a long time to get the joints moving normally, especially in the morning. RA can affect your whole body and also cause shortness of breath, fever, chest pain, and eye inflammation.

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