Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Osteoarthritis symptoms usually develop gradually. At first, there may be soreness or stiffness that seems more like a nuisance than a medical concern.

Common symptoms include:

  • Sore or painful joints – during or after movement
  • Stiffness – most noticeable when you wake up in the morning or after a period of inactivity, usually goes away after 15-20 minutes of movement
  • Loss of flexibility – unable to move your joint through its full range of motion
  • Grating sensation – may hear or feel a grating sensation when you use the joint

Osteoarthritis may also affect the neck, finger joints, ankle, and toes. The pain may be moderate and come and go, without affecting the ability to perform daily tasks. The condition could get worse if it is left untreated. The pain and stiffness of more severe osteoarthritis may make it difficult to walk, climb stairs, sleep, or perform other daily tasks.


  1. Arthritis Foundation, USA
  2. Arthritis Foundation Malaysia Publication

Early knee arthritis symptoms first felt when using stairs

People who suffer from knee pain when using the stairs may be experiencing the early symptoms of osteoarthritis, according to a new University of Leeds study.

The research, published in the medical journal Arthritis Care & Research, aimed to investigate which patient-reported activities are first associated with knee pain, in order to improve early detection of osteoarthritis and so increase the chances of people seeking effective treatment.

Philip Conaghan, Professor of Musculoskeletal Medicine in the School of Medicine, led the study. He said: “At present we have little concept of ‘early’ osteoarthritis and often only see people when they have significant longstanding pain and loss of function. This research is vital to understanding early symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.

“Knowing this will help us intervene earlier, perhaps leading to more effective ways of treating this very painful condition.”

For this study, the team looked at the cases of 4,673 people who have, or are at high risk of, osteoarthritis. Participants completed annual surveys for up to seven years in order to help the researchers track the emergence of pain during different activities over a long-term period.

The study revealed that using stairs was the first weight-bearing task in which people noticed pain.

This was followed by pain emerging during walking, standing, lying or sitting and then finally when resting in bed. The study was funded by the National Institute of Health Research, Arthritis Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Sources: University of Leeds, Arthritis Care & Research