5 Ways to Detect Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects joints, particularly the hands, knees, and hips. It usually appears in people over the age of 50 and causes pain and stiffness. This post looks at five ways to detect osteoarthritis.

5 Ways to Detect Osteoarthritis

Pain and Stiffness

The first sign of osteoarthritis is usually pain and stiffness. These symptoms can occur in any joint, although more commonly in older people who already have osteoarthritis. The signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis can come on gradually over time or develop suddenly following a particular injury or accident.

The pain may be different each time, but it will often be a dull, deep ache that can cause joint stiffness and limit the range of motion. Sometimes, the pain and stiffness are worse in the morning when waking.

Wrist Pains and Changes to the Cartilage

Wrist pain is common in osteoarthritis, especially osteoarthritic wrists. It is due to changes in the joints leading to inflamed tissues and fungal infections. Wrist pain is most common in the morning and is relieved after some movement.

According to Joint Academy, osteoarthritis vs rheumatoid arthritis has one main difference – rheumatoid arthritis affects the whole body and multiple joints while osteoarthritis very often affects just a specific joint. It can be distinguished by examining the cartilage of the wrist. In osteoarthritis, there is a slight bulge in the joint at the top of the finger, whereas, in rheumatoid arthritis, there are swellings at both ends.

Cartilage is one of the first areas to change as people develop osteoarthritis. As these areas are damaged, one may feel thickening or bony outgrowths developing. It can affect the range of movement and cause discomfort.

Numbness and Bony Joint Pain

Many people with osteoarthritis experience changes in the nerves around their joints. These changes are caused by the degeneration of the cartilage within the joints and can lead to nerve damage, especially if left untreated for long periods of time.

Changes to the nerves may cause numbness in the hands and feet or lead to shooting pains up the arms or legs. Numbness can be caused by the loss of nerves from the spinal cord or by changes in the nerve roots. It’s often worse in the morning, and people may feel a “pins and needles” sensation.

Bony joints such as the hips, knees, shoulders, or elbows are also common to osteoarthritis. The pain is usually more intense and less localized than other joint pain, but it doesn’t occur in every case of osteoarthritis.

Bone Spurs and Swelling

There are cases when osteoarthritis doesn’t affect the cartilage in the joints but instead affects the smooth bone that lines the joints. It can lead to the formation of bone spurs. Bone spurs can cause more pain and discomfort than osteoarthritic joint changes, most commonly in the spine and feet.

As people develop osteoarthritis, there is a wasting away of the articular cartilage. It occurs because the cartilage develops osteophytes and bone growths. It causes the surface to become uneven and can also cause discomfort when moving and sleeping.

Excessive Pain and Joint Swells

Sometimes, osteoarthritis doesn’t have any pain or numbness associated with it, but rather, it just causes more pain in a joint. People may experience pain in a joint that’s not usually painful or pain that comes and goes within hours of changing position.

The final way that people can detect osteoarthritis is to check for joint swelling. It occurs because of the inflammation that is present in the articular cartilage. People may find themselves getting swollen hands or feet when they are cold or painful joints when they have been in an awkward position.

If there is a joint that’s causing pain, then simply placing a ball underneath it can often temporarily reduce joint swelling and relieve discomfort.


Osteoarthritis can be a difficult condition to live with. The pain and swelling can cause a range of problems in daily life, and as the disease progresses, it gets worse. Living with arthritis means taking steps to help alleviate pain, swelling, joint deterioration, and even nerve damage.

If someone is experiencing these symptoms regularly, then they should talk to their doctor about joint pain. They are likely to find that something can be done to help relieve their symptoms before things worsen.

You May Also Like