What Does Arthritis Feel Like? – Arthritis Symptoms

what does arthritis feel like

Arthritis is a condition that develops when the cartilage in the bones does not function properly. Cartilage functions to cushion the bones so as to prevent shock and prevent them from rubbing against each other. Arthritis occurs as a result of wearing down of the cartilage as you grow older or with joint inflammation. Cushion impairment can make the affected joint to swell or have a mobility hardship.

Arthritis affects different joints within the body and the symptoms can vary from a person to another. Arthritic conditions cause pain, but what does arthritis feel like? If you wonder where the pain and stiffness you feel within your joints- fingers, wrist, hips, knees, or any other joint is due to arthritis, we offer you some insights.

What does arthritis feel like?

Arthritis can be categorized as inflammatory or mechanical. However, these are both characterized by pain. There are more than 100 conditions that fall under arthritis. Each has different symptoms, but the main symptom of any form of arthritis, and what is generally described by any sufferer, is pain.

Depending on the type and cause of your arthritis, the pain may range from mild to severe, acute to chronic. This pain is referred to as arthralgia. Arthralgia will mostly feel like a burning sensation or as some may say a dull ache. Mostly, the pain will start with the usage of the affected joint.

Arthritis symptoms

1. Swelling

As the joint becomes more painful, it may also become inflamed, tender and swell. Swelling results from an increased quantity of synovial fluid within the joint. This fluid is normal and it also acts as a normal joint cushioning material. If you have arthritis, you either have too much of this fluid or inflammation of the joint. The swelling that comes about leads to more pain and also restricts your joint’s movability.

arthritis swelling

2. Hot or warm joints

With arthritis, the affected joint may feel hot or warm.

3. Numbness

Joints affected by arthritis can pinch a nerve to cause numbness. Since nerves diverge to different parts of the body and may radiate from the same periphery, this sensation can be referred or radiated. For example, numbness in the arm may be caused by a neck nerve irritation. Leg and pain in the buttock can radiate from a back problem.

With arthritis, you can even experience back and neck pain, for example with osteoarthritis.

What does rheumatoid arthritis feel like?

Rheumatoid arthritis brings about inflammation. The inflammation occurs in the joints and the body. RA symptoms may greatly vary from a patient to another. They can also occur or disappear with time. They can flare up and even become very severe, but other times, you will not even feel like you suffer from RA. As the flare-up starts, symptoms suddenly develop and they can build up over the following weeks.

The joints may feel hot and the pain causes a throbbing ache. The smaller joints are affected first and the condition tends to strike and affect the symmetrical body. You will feel joint pain on both sides of the body; both fingers, ankles, wrists, or feet.  When you rest, the pain and stiffness worsen and it may feel very bad very early in the morning and ease up as you begin to move.

Contrary to osteoarthritis, it can take a short time to become less uncomfortable and loosen up. Progressively, you may feel greatly unwell. With RA you experience more than joint pain. You can suffer; aching body muscles, weak muscles, weight loss due to lost appetite, fever, swollen glands, tiredness, and you may feel depressed. These are symptoms that may not be associated with arthritic pain. With RA, you can’t predict what you will feel. The pain is not consistent. There are very good and very bad days.

What does osteoarthritis feel like?

Osteoarthritis is a mechanical form of arthritis. It is caused by wear and tear. It results from joint degeneration and is, therefore, more prevalent among the old. Joints can deteriorate over time during your lifetime. With this type of arthritis, you experience joint pain and stiffness and these may also come and go. Any joint can be affected. However, the knees and hips are prone to more risk. The pattern is not particularly symmetrical. The joints are not usually hot or red and some people may experience swelling and feel sore.

The symptoms may be intermittent and can be triggered by your activity level or climate, like rainy weather.  The symptoms, however, do not cause extreme flare ups and you normally should not feel very unwell. With osteoarthritis, your joints feel as though they are creaking or grinding.

The pain feels worse with joint use and it becomes better with rest. When you rest the joint, it may feel stiff. The bones affect your gait and posture. You may feel pain with activities like staircase use and getting up from a seated position. The pain also interferes with your daily activities and exercise.

What does arthritis pain feel like?

Arthritis pain patterns are not similar. To determine the type of arthritis you suffer from, your doctor will usually ask you to describe the pain you feel using questions. You will be asked how it impacts your life and overall body function, the times it mostly occurs, and how bad it often gets. You may be asked to rate it on a scale of 1-10. The following are words used by patients to describe arthritis pain:

  • Sharp or shooting.
  • A hot or burning sensation.
  • An ache that is felt deep in the joint.
  • Throbbing.
  • Grating or grinding pain.
  • A dull pain.

Final Thoughts

Suffering from arthritis can feel different depending on the type of arthritis you suffer from. Pain is, however a common symptom reported by arthritis patients. You may have constantly wondered, what does arthritis feel like? Now you know.

Don’t allow yourself to suffer in silence. Report your pain symptoms to a professional for management and treatment. It is vital to beware that you can get pain medication for arthritis. These are widely available and will alleviate the pain and reduce discomfort.

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How To Prevent Arthritis In Hands – Symptoms and Prevention
7 Exercises for Arthritis in Hands – Reduce Your Pain Naturally
Carpal Tunnel Vs. Arthritis – Differences & Similarities
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