Arthritis is an umbrella term for about 100 different conditions that affect your joints. If you have arthritis, your joints are under attack. The attack may come from repetitive motions, an out-of-control immune system, injury, or even an infection.
Osteoarthritis is a wear-and-tear disease that affects your joints and tends to develop with age, as your protective cartilage breaks down over time. However, you can develop arthritis in a joint even while you’re young. Injuries and repetitive motions — including repetitions involved in sports and other hobbies or professions — raise your risk for arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can strike at any age. Even children can develop rheumatoid arthritis. Sometimes getting an infection near a joint also damages the joint and creates arthritis.
As with all health conditions and diseases, the sooner you identify arthritis and begin treatment, the sooner you’ll feel better and prevent further joint destruction. That’s why our licensed medical providers at Reno Regenerative Medicine in Reno, Nevada, want to make you aware of arthritis symptoms.
Your joints are stiff or painful
The classic sign of arthritis is stiff or painful joints. You can develop arthritis in any joint, including your:
- Hands and fingers
- Feet and toes
You’re more likely to develop arthritis in a joint that you use often. That’s why violinists may develop arthritis in their fingers and wrists, or a baseball pitcher may have an arthritic shoulder.
Your joints click or pop
If you have arthritis, you might also experience a click or pop in your joint when you move it. As your cartilage degrades, your bones sometimes create extra bone to take its place. Known as bone spurs, these bony protrusions can limit your mobility and cause grinding or popping sounds in your joints.
Your back or neck is stiff
Your back and neck comprise dozens of joints, which is why you’re able to (or should be able to) bend, twist, and flex in multiple directions. However, as with other joints, the joints in your back can become afflicted with arthritis.
If you wake up in the morning with a stiff neck or back, you could have arthritis. Another sign that your stiffness is joint-related rather than muscle-related is feeling stiff after you’ve been sitting or lying down for awhile.
You cannot move the way you could before
Arthritis degrades the protective cartilage tissue between the two bones in a joint. Cartilage doesn’t just absorb shocks to the joint, it also helps your joint move smoothly and fully.
If you notice that you can’t walk, run, or twist as easily as you did in youth, you could have arthritis. Arthritis is an inflammatory condition, so ignoring it risks the spread of inflammation to other tissues and joints, too.
Your joints are red or hot
A hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis is joints that are red, inflamed, or hot to the touch. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy tissues in your joints. Untreated, rheumatoid arthritis can completely destroy your joints.
Manage your arthritis
Although arthritis has no cure, it can be managed. So can osteoarthritis. We recommend lifestyle changes, such as eating more fruits and vegetables, and getting regular exercise. We also offer supportive therapies for arthritis, including:
- Cold and hot laser therapy
- Physical therapy and rehab