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Osteoarthritis symptoms can range from mild to very severe and include joint aching and soreness, tenderness when pressure is applied, stiffness, loss of flexibility, grating sensation and bone spurs from bone rubbing on bone. The disorder most often affects the hands and weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips, feet and the back, but can affect almost any joint in the body. Women are more commonly affected than men.
Most people first begin to notice pain and stiffness in the affected joints after prolonged sitting or when first getting out of bed in the morning. The pain tends to worsen as the day goes on with increased activity, and lessens with rest. In cases of osteoarthritis in the spine, nerves may be affected which can cause shooting pain, pins and needle sensations or weakness in the arms and legs.
For many people age 45 and over, they first notice osteoarthritis pain in their knee, especially when using stairs or after standing and walking. This pain tends to worsen as the day goes on and improves with rest. It’s common to notice sudden catching or giving way in one or both knees during activity.
Osteoarthritis pain in the hips is about one third as common as knee pain. Osteoarthritis may also cause pain in the hands, neck and back, especially in the elderly. As bone rubs on bone due to cartilage loss, new bone deposits called bone spurs can form that press on nerves. For some people, this nerve compression in the spine leads to shooting pains or weakness in the arms or legs.