How Do I Know If I Have Arthritis?

Woman with arthritis pain

As people age, many wonder if the pain they feel in their bones and joints is normal stiffness, soreness from overuse or arthritis. How do you know if you have arthritis? The short answer is that you need to go to your doctor and have tests done to find out.

There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related joint diseases, and it is important to get diagnosed as early as possible to prevent damage to your bones, joints and other body organs and tissues.

One of the most common types of arthritis is osteoarthritis—a degenerative joint disease caused by wear and tear of the joints such as knees, hips, ankles and knuckles. It often begins after age 40, but could occur earlier due to previous injury or other medical conditions.

Symptoms of Arthritis

With arthritis, a person’s cartilage — the cushioning tissue that covers the ends of bones where they come together and form a joint — breaks down. This breakdown leads to inflammation and painful friction between the bones. Signs of arthritis include:

  • Pain – frequent persistent pain in knees, hips or other joints after overuse or prolonged rest (sitting, sleeping)

  • Stiffness – limited range of motion that may feel better after light activity such as walking

  • Swelling – around affected joints that was not caused by injury

  • Redness – often occurs with swelling

  • Soreness – affected joints may be tender and sore to touch

  • Joint friction – the feeling of bones grinding or rubbing together as you move due to wearing down of cartilage

If you have arthritis in your knees, you may first notice pain while walking up and down stairs, after you run, at the end of the day or right after you wake up. If you have arthritis in your fingers, your knuckles may be swollen and painful—sometimes the first sign is that you can no longer wear your rings.

The bottom line is if you’re having persistent joint pain, no matter what age you are, talk to your doctor. To relieve minor arthritis pain, try BC® Arthritis, now available in sealed stick packs that are easy to take with you wherever you go.