What Does Arthritis Look Like? An Illustrated Guide

Pain, swelling, and stiffness are three of the most common symptoms of arthritis in the knee. However, these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions such as tears or sprains. Knee pain is often caused by the wearing down of cartilage (osteoarthritis). Without that protective layer, the bones and joints rub together, which leads to stiffness, pain, and loss of movement. Other symptoms may include:

Osteoarthritis is more common among men under the age of 45, but more common among women over 45. Women over 60 are twice as likely to develop arthritis symptoms than men. Risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis or progressing symptoms include:  

Symptoms of neck arthritis can worsen with looking up or down for a sustained duration or with activities like driving and reading that involve holding the neck in the same position for a prolonged period of time. Rest or lying down often help to relieve symptoms.

What Does Arthritis Look Like?

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Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, affects more than 30 million Americans. While many people associate osteoarthritis with the wear-and-tear that the body’s joints endure over time with aging, more than half of Americans affected by osteoarthritis are under the age of 65.  

It is estimated that 40% of all adults in the United States will be diagnosed with osteoarthritis in at least one hand before the age of 85, with women being twice as likely as men to develop symptoms.

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There are many different kinds of arthritis that can affect different joints in your body. Your symptoms may vary, depending on the type of arthritis you have. Most forms of arthritis have these symptoms in common:

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Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States that results in millions of lost work days, hospitalizations, and outpatient visits to a healthcare provider. Arthritis is also the most common chronic condition that leads to chronic abuse of prescription opioid medications for pain relief in the United States.

If symptoms do not improve with conservative measures, surgical methods may be used to manage symptoms of shoulder arthritis. Surgical options include:

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Symptoms and Signs of Arthritis for Different Parts of the Body

Many forms of arthritis can cause symptoms in your wrists, the joints of your fingers, and the base of your thumbs. These include:

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Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, although it is most common in the back and spine, hips, knees, neck and shoulders, and fingers and hands. Anyone who repetitively overuses their joints, including athletes, military personnel, and those with physically demanding jobs, may be at an increased risk for developing arthritis.  

Arthritis of the hands and fingers causes painful inflammation and swelling of the joints of the wrists and fingers, making activities like gripping, grasping, and pinching very challenging and painful. Over time, arthritis can cause noticeable deformation of the finger joints.

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