Arthritis Signs and Symptoms

General symptoms associated with osteoarthritis include soreness, stiffness, or difficulty moving one or more joints after periods of activity or periods of prolonged rest. OA can occur in any joint.

When OA is present in the hip joints, the condition may cause pain in the groin, the inner thigh, and the buttocks. The person may limp when walking.

OA in the knees may produce pain that worsens when walking up and down stairs or when rising from a seated position.

In the fingers, OA may cause pain and swelling of the joints and difficulty picking up or grasping small items, such as a pen or pencil.

Although rheumatoid arthritis can develop in any joint, it often begins in the small joints of the wrists, hands, and fingers.

Usually, joints affected by RA feel stiff and the patient may notice that they do not move as easily as before. This stiffness may be more severe in the morning and less severe later in the day. Patients with RA may also experience pain after sitting for long periods of time.

Symptoms of RA are usually felt symmetrically, meaning that both sides of the body are affected. Joints that are affected may be tender, feel warm, and appear red and swollen.

Rheumatoid arthritis also may cause flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and fever. Muscle aches (myalgia) and a loss of energy and appetite may also occur.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 31 May 2006

Last Modified: 01 Sep 2015