Some symptoms of osteoarthritis are rather subtle, while others are more obvious. Because the joint damage itself is progressive, it may be physically unnoticeable at first. Men and women may feel soreness within their hips, knees, and ankles, which can usually be alleviated by prescriptive pain medications. Individuals who have suffered with the disease for many years may eventually notice that the joints themselves have become deformed. If this occurs in the wrists and fingers, for example, they will likely have problems holding and gripping material objects.
When the joints weaken, the muscles may deteriorate as well. When this happens in the knee area, men and women may experience difficulty remaining upright for long periods of time. They may even eventually require a cane in order to get around. If they seem to be having a particularly difficult time walking, they should rest their legs until the feel a bit better. A few days of inactivity can be quite the boon for bone health. If the knee grows progressively worse, they can then see a specialist and have the area carefully x-rayed.
Their range of motion may also be limited. Some men and women first begin to notice this when they play sports. For example, if they are avid players of tennis or golf, they may find that they cannot follow through on their swings as they used to. In other cases, they may also notice significant pain, especially when they move their bodies in an unnatural way. Athletes who begin to experience signs of osteoarthritis should see their physical therapist as soon as possible. If the symptoms persist, they'll likely receive a formal diagnosis within a few days or weeks.
Though some people may notice that their joints hurt after a day of physical activity, they should pay particular attention to how they feel when they sleep. If they wake up during the night with joint pain, this could be a very real sign that their osteoarthritis is getting worse. If the pain is also accompanied by sensitive swelling, then they should revisit their physician for a routine examination. Doctors can gently perform some tests, which should pinpoint the source of the new pain.
In the end, osteoarthritis can be effectively dealt with in most people. As long as patients listen to their bodies and alert their doctors whenever significant changes are noticed, they can move forward with their treatment. Family and friends will surely be glad to help out when it comes to scheduling medical appointments and running errands around town.