Is the pain you’re feeling arthritis?
Do you experience pain or swelling in your joints after walking up a flight of stairs or waking up in the morning? If so, you may be experiencing the first signs of arthritis.
Arthritis can occur at any age. Approximately 1 in 3 people, aged 18 to 64, have been diagnosed or are living with the symptoms of arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
“Arthritis is an umbrella term used for any type of joint inflammation that may restrict your range of motion or reduce your quality of life,” says Dr. Chad Ermis, a physical medicine & rehabilitation physician at Aurora Medical Center – Bay Area in Marinette, Wis. “It can occur in one joint or multiple joints. It happens when cartilage between bones wears down or becomes damaged. Without functioning cartilage, the joint may not move properly.” General symptoms include pain and swelling of the joint.
There are many causes for arthritis, but many cases have no obvious cause. Key factors that may lead to the development of arthritis include:
- Previous injury to the joint
- Poor diet and nutrition
- Family history and genetics
- Poor immune system or infections
Types of arthritis
There are over 100 types of arthritis, and each type presents itself differently. Dr. Ermis breaks down three of the most common types of arthritis and their symptoms:
Osteoarthritis: Typically occurs in larger, weight-bearing joints such as the hips, knees or back. It may also present itself in smaller joints, though it is less common. People with osteoarthritis often feel stiff or sore, especially in the morning.
Rheumatoid arthritis: Often starts in smaller joints like fingers or toes. The most common symptom is stiffness and trouble moving in the mornings. People often experience symptoms symmetrically, or the same joint on either side of the body. As rheumatoid arthritis develops, it can negatively impact the entire body, leading to shortness off breath, chest pain and fevers.
Psoriatic arthritis: Can cause rashes, eye redness or changes to your nails in addition to pain and swelling of the joint. Some people may also experience obvious swelling of a finger or toe, which helps pinpoint the type of arthritis.
Depending on the type of arthritis, your doctor may recommend:
- Medications such as painkillers or NSAIDS
- Injections for joint pain
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Splints or joint aids
- Weight loss
- Surgery or joint replacement
“Arthritis progresses over time. It is important to seek treatment as soon as you begin to experience symptoms to prevent further damage to your joints,” Dr. Ermis says.
Do you suffer from frequent joint pain? Take a short, free assessment now to learn more about pain in your hips and knees.
About the Author
Cali Nygren, health enews contributor, is a marketing intern for Aurora BayCare with a BA in business administration from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. In her spare time, you may find Cali cracking jokes, watching Marvel movies, and spending time with her friends and family.