Patient Comments: Osteoarthritis - Symptoms


The symptoms of osteoarthritis can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Saryu, 35-44 (Caregiver) Published: May 31

My small finger and toe joints are very painful and tender from osteoarthritis. I am a 40 year old female. I have generalized fatigue and feel inactive most of the time. It is greatly affecting my quality of life.

Comment from: Jblake, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 04

I found out almost 5 years ago I have osteoarthritis in my back. Now it bothers my legs, arms, neck and hands. It's so painful but I've tried everything from weight loss to massage therapy. The doctor always says it is the weight, but I have an aunt who weighted over 300 pounds but she lost all the weight. She has had 2 knee surgeries and shots in her back and she is still in pain, so it makes me wonder if it really is the weight that is the problem. The doctors don't want 2 listen to the patient.

Comment from: Cathie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 15

I woke up with a horrible achy pain in my left knee because of osteoarthritis. I’m always getting pins and needles in my hands, arms and feet.

Comment from: Stina W, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 06

It started with a horrible crick in my neck, then I woke up with jaw pain a day later. I got diagnosed with TMJ (temporomandibular disorder), went home and took my pills. I woke up next day with pain in my ankles so bad I couldn't walk. Over the next couple days it swelled up like a balloon. On day 7 I woke up and couldn't walk, my knees were swollen up and filled with fluid. I assumed it was allergic reaction to medicines. Day 10 I couldn't stand without wobbling, was scared my knees would buckle in pain. I am 31 years old and diagnosed with osteoarthritis and chronic knee pain. I have hypothyroidism type 2.

Comment from: Donna, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 16

First symptom of osteoarthritis was jaw pain. Not TMJ type facial pain, but just in the jaw joint. It took me several years and multiple doctor visits and changing doctors, having exploratory surgery to figure out what was going on. This was done after MRI/CT also. It turned out a childhood accident had affected my jaw/bite and no one ever knew it. I spent a number of very miserable years as an adult trying to get a diagnosis (including being told I was imagining things) when I finally found the surgeon who saw me; he quickly got to the bottom of the problem. I now have artificial jaw joints. Since then I have also had lumbar multi-level spinal fusion, two level neck fusion. I have been told I need a thumb joint replaced. My one knee is problematic (it began with an injury). My elbows do a lot of grating noises which has me a bit worried but guess I will wait and see.

Comment from: Dusty, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 08

My osteoarthritis started in my neck and then progressed to my back, and my fingers have now started to shake. I wonder if the shaking is any relation to my arthritis.

Comment from: totallybored, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 28

Osteoarthritis started in a few fingers with the end joint swelling and turning red then turning crooked. Now it is in my hands bad and getting in my feet. I can feel it a little in my neck.

Comment from: ladyk, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 03

I have multiple issues with my joints including osteoarthritis of my knees and degenerative joint disease of my spine. I started using Siberian pine nut oil which has a very potent anti-inflammatory base to it. If you google it you can read about the effects and benefits it has on inflammations and joint pain and the healing properties it has. So far it has helped my hand pain and my leg pain has gotten better. It is an herbal supplement so it has no side effects and it has a nutty flavor to it.

Comment from: Bill, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: March 27

I had been going to a chiropractor for 2 years, for neck and lower back pain. The last four months, I was going every 2 weeks which was not helping. Finally I had an MRI. I have osteoarthritis in my cervical and lumbar spine, and the pain is getting worse! I now have some sciatica! I am scheduled for an out-patient procedure on 4/7 (I believe it is called a medial bundle branch block, sort of like an epidural) for my cervical spine! The saga continues.

Comment from: jlssm1941, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 14

When I first discovered that something was wrong with me, I was not surprised because I had had some type of pain in my legs since I was three years old. When I was 30 years old, I started getting stiff in the mornings and after sitting for a while, it was difficult for me to walk at first. While changing sheets on my king size bed, I climbed on the bed to place the sheet on the opposite side and suddenly realized that my knees were gone because I could not place any weight on them. All of a sudden I seemed like an invalid. My husband had to help me get off the bed because my knees were locked in place. Such terrific pain I had never experienced before in my life. This was 33 years ago; I now take a pain pill in the morning and one in the evening for some relief. I had microscopic surgery on the left knee three years ago which helped quite a bit; but I am now starting to have severe pain in it again. I have a torn meniscus in the right leg and need surgery. I really would like to have a knee replacement in both legs. I have sent for information on the ZIMMER for women only replacement. There is always hope for a better tomorrow; I hope this is it for me.


Osteoarthritis (OA) See a medical illustration of osteoarthritis plus our entire medical gallery of human anatomy and physiology See Images
Published: July 30

I went for my yearly physical, and complained of aching hands and that my hips hurt. Blood tests came back with a positive ANA test. The rheumatologist ran blood tests and took X rays of my hands. This came back with a diagnosis of osteoarthritis. The hip pain was bursitis. She gave me cortisone shots in my hips and prescribed Arthrotec (NSAID) for the pain. I use hot wax dips, and lots of Aspercreme night time lotion (it smells good!). These things seem to help, since I teach special needs children and use a lot of sign language.

Published: July 25

I was just recently diagnosed with Osteoarthritis in both knees. I am 31 years old. I started getting symptoms about 6 years ago while training for a marathon. I ran every day and did squats and lunges every other day too. That did me in. At first, doctors diagnosed me with patella tendonitis which coincided with the symptoms I had at the time. I stopped everything and gained weight. Since then, the pain returns when the weather is about to change. I used the Glucos/Chron blend and can tell it helps a bit. Frustrating because I can’t really do any real workout, but I need to lose weight at the same time.

Comment from: 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 08

My symptoms of osteoarthritis are bulging discs in spine and a lot of swelling in the knee.

Comment from: LoriZak1, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 28

I was diagnosed on June 1, 2013 with osteoarthritis of the spine and my doctor said that I had a back of a 53 year old woman (I am 43 years old). My grandma had osteoarthritis and she was in pain all the time; she also had deformed fingers and toes on her left side the same side as me. I have chronic pain all the time, particularly in the afternoon starting at 3pm and on. I have been on a high dosage of tramadol and it does work. I really do think I have had this disease since my teens. I work full time, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week and with everything being so expensive it's hard to even take a day off, but I find that if I work early in the morning from 6:30AM to 2:30PM I am fine and not dragging my left leg as much. The weather has changed here and my osteoarthritis has gotten worse, so I can only imagine what it will be like in winter, but water therapy works very well!

Comment from: Vinny152, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: September 04

In 2005, my symptoms of osteoarthritis started with pain and stiffness of the knees, primarily over the next two years. The pain in my joints disappeared with the help of pain medication and salves, but the stiffness became worse, necessitating the use of a cane for walking. Now the joints in both hands are swollen and disfigured, but I have no pain in these deformed joints. Some weight reduction did not help the symptoms. Currently, sitting for more than two hours will cause severe stiffness. I try to maintain a moderate exercise program to reduce the stiffness, and I have moved to a warmer climate.

Comment from: Caberfay, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 04

I have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, but it is not in the usual sites that other people seem to suffer in. Mine is in my neck and shoulders. Initially, my pain was in my upper arms, in the muscles of my upper arms. When I went to the doctor, he immediately sent me for an X-ray as he suspected lung cancer, but my lungs were clear. The next day, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. I was prescribed Tramacet for six months and when I tried to reduce the intake of the pills, I was very surprised to find I was going through withdrawal symptoms. Since then, it is like my nervous system has been affected, and I have attacks of some kind of tension in my arms and legs and must shake them vigorously to settle them. This even wakes me up at night, with sweating and panic. I wonder if I have built up an aversion to acetaminophen, which is in Tramacet.

Comment from: genea_80, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 22

I first noticed a problem about 5 months ago while lying on a pullout bed. I'd been staying at a relative's home helping her recover from knee surgery, when I noticed a dull ache in my right hip. I ignored it for 2 months before I went to the doctor. By then the pain went from only slightly uncomfortable, to almost unbearable. My doctor ordered x-rays, and he determined that I had secondary degenerative osteoarthritis in my right hip. He explained that my body had grown a small "patch" to correct an injury that I'd sustained as a teenager. When he asked if I played tennis, and I told him that I had and suffered a bad fall he told me that the injury likely surfaced from that incident. At 28, I'm finding myself stiff in the mornings and achy in the movie theater or on long bus rides. The pain is not debilitating, and I am working to keep the disease at bay. I have also noticed in the last month that my right knee (which was also injured in the same fall during the tennis match) is also causing me pain. To all who read this: don't ignore your body. If you have pain, please see a doctor. I waited just two short months, and now I regret it.

Comment from: Cindy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 19

I have been dealing with the pain of osteoarthritis for three years now. I am a 52-year-old female and have had to adjust my exercise activities to low impact, more repetitions and less weight. It started in my neck then moved to my knees and hips. Now, it is in my right hand. (I am right handed and work at a computer all day). My middle finger is swollen at the knuckle to twice its size and now my right ring finger is too. My doctor said there is no cure for osteoarthritis, so what do I do? Let it keep getting worse until I can't use my right hand at all? Sometimes I take Flexeril and Ibuprofen. They take the edge off, but that is about it. I also go to a chiropractor to get some relief. There are times when one knee will lock up when I am kneeling and working in my flower bed and I have to try to move it around so I can get up. The pain is excruciating.


Osteoarthritis (OA): Treatment, Symptoms, Diagnosis See Slideshow
Published: July 22

My neck was hurting, and I thought it would go away eventually. After three months, I finally went to the doctor who thought it might be carpel tunnel syndrome, but after the spinal x-ray said it was osteoarthritis. I'm in constant pain, and the celebrex and muscle relaxers are gone. I'm 43 and too young to be dealing with arthritis.

Published: July 10

I had severe lower back pain that started July 2nd. It felt like the groin area was on fire with the lower back. I could not sit or lay down without pain. I thought I had broken something. I endured this pain for six days by just taking acetaminophen. Realized it was not getting better, then an ear ache came on also on July 7th and went to emergency room at local hospital. X rays showed I had degenerative arthritis. I would have pain but never this severe. Now it is constant.

Published: June 27

My first symptom was in my jaw. It basically "quit working" one day and my teeth were hitting when I chewed. I had to relearn to chew and it eventually healed. The next time something went wrong was with my pinky finger. It had been stiff and irritated for a while, but one day I noticed it was swollen, with a hard knot on the knuckle. The x-ray revealed osteoarthritis. Subsequent x-rays confirmed arthritis in the jaw and both hips. I am a 35 year old female. It's a bit depressing, but I am now taking a joint complex supplement and have modified my exercise routine to be lower impact with more repetition and less weight. Hopefully, things will improve. I need to be able to keep up with 3 small children!

Published: June 24

I was diagnosed at 4 years old with osteoarthritis in my knees and have been living with it for 36 years. It seemed that all at once, after sitting for any length of time, I would get up and as soon as I started to walk I would fall. Of course, my parents immediately took me to doctor & then the hospital.

Published: June 19

I have suffered for 4yrs from this disease and I have tried many meds to no avail I lost weight but this hasn’t helped so out of desperation I had acupuncture which took the edge of the pain which is the best result I have had because of the pain in my legs, hips, ankles and back I am almost house bound but with acupuncture I feel less pain thus I’m able to go into the garden there is hope you just have to solider on to get an answer.

Published: June 13

Initially I thought I had slept crooked and had a crick in my neck or a sinus headache. The pain, however, began to radiate up the side of my head behind my left ear and down my left shoulder. It became excruciating to turn my head to the left. When it wasn't hurting, I could feel movement in my neck when I turned my head.

Published: June 04

For so long I thought that I was going crazy, I had pain and burning in my joints and muscles, I have had MRI’ s and was told that nothing was wrong, just aging, I am 50 yrs old and I feel like 70. I finally saw a commercial about fibromyalgia (?)And took it to my Dr. and she sent me to a Rheumatologist and he found that I have osteoarthritis. He gave me Neurogen and the nerve pain is finally under control, I question is will I eventually get osteoporosis?

Published: June 02

After arthroscopic surgery on my right knee in 1995, I learned about glucosamine/chondroitin supplements and began taking them. My left knee was very bad also, but improved almost immediately without surgery, and now 13 years later, no pain in either knee. I take two triple strength tablets a day. If I feel a twinge, I up the dosage to 3 a day for a week or two. That supplement works for me (a 68 year-old male) - at least on the knees but not in the back.

Published: May 28

One day, my good knee (the left one...the right one has had six surgeries, including ACL replacement and subsequent retear of the replacement and partial miniscus removal) just started to swell. The previous night, I felt it was tight, then the next day after a casual 2.5-mile walk, it was a balloon. There is no pain, just tightness, swelling, and the usual cracking that has existed for years. For the record, I am 39 and female.

Published: May 28

My pain began at the age of 37, after an injury sustained on the job. A burning sensation along with severe spasms was my first clue that something was wrong.

Comment from: 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: August 22

I am a 38 year old male and have been in the army for 18 years. Two years ago bending my fingers made my hand feel achy and stiff. Eventually the feeling spread to my knees, my shoulders, my back, feet, and neck, now I can't lift my arm without pain medications. Even with the pain medications my ROM in that arm is limited, and I still hurt all of the time. I finally have a diagnosis of osteoarthritis, but nothing seems to do much for the pain at all.

Comment from: 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: August 19

I have osteoarthritis. In my case, the problem started when I was 35. Most doctors though say that is too early for the disease to start. Currently, I am 41. Over the years, the disease has progressed. While earlier I experienced pain in my knee while climbing and descending stairs, these days if my knees are stressed, I experience mild pain, even in walking. It has me worried. One particular exercise that involves contracting the knee, if done excessively, further aggravates my problem.

Comment from: Jax, 35-44 Female Published: August 19

I have osteoarthritis on both hips; the left being more advanced than the right. I’m on anti-inflammatories and pain killers for it, but I’m having terrible pains in my left leg, and it gets worse when I’m on my feet for a long time. When I sit down, my bottom and my thighs -- especially my left thigh -- ache and I have to keep moving positions to relieve the pain. My doctor thinks it’s sciatica that’s causing the pain.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 15

I'm 45 years old and have osteoarthritis in my lower back. I've had pain with my back for years, but, finally, I have a cause. Because I have the arthritis in the lower back, it kicks my right hip out of alignment, which I see a chiropractor for every month. I don't take medications because I'm one that hates to rely on them, but I do exercise, lift weights, and I speed walk every day. I refuse to give up my freedom of movement to this problem, I'll fight it every step of the way! Of course I have pain in the morning, and if I make the wrong movement at any time.

Comment from: 35-44 Female Published: August 04

I knew something was wrong when at age 28, I had trouble waking up for about a week. I was diagnosed at age 32 through an x-ray when I could barely climb the stairs. One of the first symptoms I experienced was my knees would flair up and get very hot. I took medication, but after 7yrs had to stop due to re-occurring stomach problems. Through medication use, change of diet and eating healthier I lost weight and this has definitely helped.

Published: August 04

My symptoms started when I was 17. At first, it was just pain in my knees after exercise. Now, at the age of 24, I am having pain in my knees and left hip. I had closed reduction of a both-bone lower leg fracture when I was 12, so I assume that was the initial catalyst.