Arthritis afflicts millions worldwide, triggering inflammation in the joints and causing pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. Unfortunately, diagnosing the condition in its early stages can be challenging with many people mistaking the symptoms for signs of aging or other causes. So people often suffer for years before seeking medical treatment.
To help you identify the symptoms and address them promptly, we’ve compiled a list of early warning signs of arthritis:
1. Pain and stiffness in the Joints
If you have arthritis, you’re likely to experience pain, swelling, and stiffness in one or more joints. The pain is usually more noticeable in the morning or after periods of inactivity, and it may be accompanied by redness or swelling.
Many people ignore joint pain and stiffness, assuming it’s a normal part of aging or the result of overuse or injury. But it’s crucial to pay attention to these symptoms and seek treatment as early as possible.
2. Reduced Range of Motion
Arthritis can make it difficult to move your joints, leading to a reduced range of motion. This can make everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs, more difficult.
Reduced range of motion is often attributed to the aging process or a sedentary lifestyle. However, if you notice this symptom, it could be a sign of arthritis. Getting a prompt diagnosis can help you get the treatment you need.
Arthritis can also cause fatigue, which can make it difficult to complete everyday tasks. This symptom is often overlooked, as it’s also a common complaint associated with depression, thyroid problems, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
4. Joint tenderness
Arthritis can cause tenderness in the joints, which can make them painful to the touch. You may find that the affected joint is sensitive to pressure or that even light touch can cause discomfort.
Joint tenderness can be mistaken for the result of an injury or overuse. Many people assume that the joint is simply sore from overdoing it at the gym or from a recent fall or other accident.
5. Joint swelling
Arthritis can cause swelling in the joints, which can make them appear larger than usual. The swelling may be accompanied by warmth and redness in the affected joint.
Joint swelling can be mistaken for the result of an injury or infection. Many people assume that the swelling is simply a normal part of the healing process, and don’t realize that it could be a sign of arthritis.
6. Reduced grip strength
Arthritis can affect your grip strength, making it difficult to hold objects or perform tasks that require fine motor skills. You may find that you drop things more frequently or that you have difficulty opening jars or turning doorknobs.
Reduced grip strength can also be attributed to the normal aging process or the result of overuse or injury. Many people assume that they are simply “losing strength” as they age, and don’t realize that the reduced grip strength could be a sign of arthritis.
7. Joint creaking or popping
Arthritis can cause your joints to creak or pop when you move them. This is caused by the wearing down of cartilage in the joint, which can lead to bone rubbing against bone.
Many people assume that joint creaking or popping is simply a normal part of the aging process or the result of overuse or injury. They may not realize that the creaking or popping could be a sign of arthritis until the symptoms become more severe.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent the condition from worsening. Your doctor may recommend a variety of treatments, including medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes to manage your arthritis symptoms and improve your quality of life.