What are the symptoms of arthritis?
Each type of arthritis has its own symptoms but some symptoms or arthritis are very common and are present with the other types of arthritis. I will share to you some of the manifestations for each type and symptoms of arthritis.
For a patients with osteoarthritis, he/ she may have the following:
- Chronic joint pain and stiffness. In the early course of osteoarthritis, the pain diminishes after rest and it intensifies after activity. Then later the pain occurs even with slight motion only or even at rest. Crepitus, a continuous grating sensation caused by irregular cartilage, may be felt or heard as the joint is put through passive range of motion.one or more joints are affected. The client may also complain of joint stiffness that usually lasts less than 30 minutes after a period of inactivity.
- Joint is enlarged. This can be seen by the examiner during inspection. This is due to bony hypertrophy. Rarely does a joint appear to be hot and inflamed.
- The client typically complains about joint stiffness. Swelling, pain, fatigue, and may complain of generalized weakness and morning stiffness. Anorexia and weight loss may occur early in the disease process accompanied by a persistent low grade fever. During this stage, the upper extremity joints are often involved initially. The joints are slightly reddened, warm, stiff, swollen, and painful particularly on palpation.
- The joints become progressively inflamed and painful. Gel phenomenon is present wherein patients feel morning stiffness which lasts between 45 minutes and several hours after awakening. Upon palpation, the joints feel soft and appear puffy due to synovitis and effusions (joint swelling with fluid, especially the knees). The fingers those having arthritis appear spindle-like. Muscle atrophy may be present due to disuse secondary to joint pain. Most or all synovial joints are eventually affected. There is pain felt during chewing or when opening the mouth.
Gout (gouty arthritis)
- Joint inflammation is the most common manifestation. The inflamed area is too painful and swollen to be touched or moved.
There’s a presence of tophi in the skin (deposits of sodium urate crystals). Although this may appear anywhere, but they are more common on the outer ear. Other manifestations of chronic gout include signs of renal calculi or renal dysfunction.
It is characterized by a scaly, itchy rash usually on the elbows, knees, and scalp. Fingernail and toenail lifting and pitting may also occur. The joint pain is often associated with stiffness especially in the morning. Neck and back pain are common. Hence arthritis must not be taken for granted.