World Arthritis Day 2023: 8 early signs and symptoms of the disease you shouldn't ignore
Occasional joint pain after rigorous physical activity is common, however persistent aching and swelling should be investigated.
Aches and pains are fairly common nowadays with people leading a sedentary lifestyle and adopting wrong postures while working. However, persistent joint pain, swelling, stiffness, especially in mornings or after a prolonged period of inactivity shouldn't be ignored as these symptoms could indicate arthritis. World Arthritis Day is observed on October 12 annually to raise awareness around different kinds of arthritis. Arthritis is inflammation of joints, stiffness and oedema. Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder and osteoarthritis that may often affect in old age are two of the common types of arthritis. (Also read: World Arthritis Day 2023: Date, history, significance and theme)
"Early symptoms of arthritis are swelling, discomfort, stiffness, and a reduction in the range of motion in the joints. Although different forms of arthritis may manifest slightly differently, they often have comparable symptoms, such as joint pain. A range of diseases collectively referred to as arthritis cause inflammation in one or more joints. Arthritis and associated disorders come in over 100 different varieties. Arthritis typically manifests as joint pain, stiffness, and oedema. Even though there is currently no cure for arthritis, recognizing the signs and symptoms and beginning therapy early can help to moderate and manage the condition," says Dr Kirthi Paladugu, Sr. Consultant Joint Replacement & Arthroscopy Surgeon, Robotic & Navigation Joint Replacement (FIJR Germany), Arthroscopy Surgeon - Shoulder & Knee (Sports Medicine), Minimally Invasive Trauma Surgeon, Clinical Director, Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad.
Occasional joint pain after exertion and rigorous physical activities is common, often due to strain or injury. However, persistent aching, pain, and stiffness, especially centred at the joint, could indicate the onset of arthritis. It's crucial to monitor these symptoms and get tested when required. Arthritis is not restricted to the older generation alone, with Juvenile Arthritis, & Rheumatoid Arthritis affecting the younger population. Some of the common signs and symptoms of arthritis are persistent pain in joints, often in the morning or after rest, stiffness in joints making it difficult to move them, especially after prolonged inactivity, inflammation in the joints resulting in swelling and tenderness, redness and warmth around the affected area, joint deformities, often resulting from untreated or progressive arthritis over time. It's highly recommended not to ignore arthritis symptoms and take timely diagnosis to limit the severity of the health condition. The earlier you get hold of the situation, the faster you can recover, says Dr Sohini Sengupta, Medical Laboratory Director, Redcliffe Labs.
EARLY SIGNS OF ARTHRITIS
Dr Kirthi shares early signs and symptoms of arthritis people should watch out for:
1. Pain in a joint: Typically, a person will feel discomfort in their joints, which may be constant, intermittent, or only present when they touch the injured area.
2. Joint swelling and tenderness: As arthritis worsens, it can result in swollen and painful joints. When you apply pressure to the joint, it could pain.
3. Joint stiffness, especially in the morning: Rheumatoid arthritis can make joints feel stiff. For instance, if your hands are afflicted, you might not be able to make a fist or fully bend your fingers. Similar to joint pain, stiffness is frequently worse in the morning or after inactivity. Morning stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis frequently lasts longer than this, in contrast to morning stiffness that is a symptom of another type of arthritis termed osteoarthritis, which typically goes away within 30 minutes of waking up.
4. Grating sound or sensation: When a joint moves with a grinding or grating sound, it means the cartilage has worn out and may be an indication of arthritis.
6. Groin pain: Many people are unaware that hip arthritis distributes pain to the groin and not the hip's outside.
7. Symmetrical joint pain: The same joints on both sides of your body, such as both wrists and both knees, are frequently affected by rheumatoid arthritis.
8. Pain or stiffness in your hands and feet: The tiny joints of your hands, wrists, and ankles are frequently the first places where rheumatoid and other forms of inflammatory arthritis manifest.
When to visit a doctor for arthritis
"The most important thing to do after diagnosis of arthritis is to manage symptoms and to the greatest extent possible, stop any further inflammatory and degenerative processes. A person should visit a doctor if their joint pain is accompanied by redness, swelling, tenderness, or warmth near the joint. If the soreness doesn't go away or if it lasts longer than two weeks, then also one should visit doctor," says Dr Kirthi.