Osteoarthritis affects only joints and abdominal structures and does not cause systemic complaints, such as weight loss or fever. The osteoarthritis does not cause direct complaints from internal organs (as opposed to some of the arthritis). Osteoarthritis symptoms may vary depending on which condition is affected, how many affected joints, what is the age of the patient, the presence of accompanying diseases, etc. Every person has individual pain tolerance.
Most common osteoarthritis symptom is pain, which usually is deeply felt in the joint. It increases in physical activity engaging the joint. At the beginning of the disease, the pain is seen in overloading of the joint, later in active movements and in advanced stages. The pain can be provoked by the aggravation of time and may appear in the joints after a long rest. Usually it subsides at rest, but in the more advanced stages of the disease it can become permanent and independent of the physical effort. The pain may also occur at night and occasionally awaken the sick from sleep. Sometimes the pain as well as some of the other complaints may resolve for varying lengths of time (eg small arthritis of the hands).
Among the other osteoarthritis symptoms is stiffness in the joint, restriction of joint movements and swelling of the joint, as well as warming and eventual flushing of the skin above the joint, as inflammation of the joints causes activation of all exchange processes inside the joint causing heat.
The joint deformation and abnormal position of the limb or body are also among the osteoarthritis symptoms, as shrinking the joint capsule and the surrounding muscles and tendons and bone deformation cause conditions called contractions. In the presence of a contracture, the limb occupies an unnatural position or can not perform the full volume of a movement. Many people also feel spasm of the obstructed musculature in the early stages of the disease, or discoloration of the subcutaneous bone causes a feeling of “cracking” and “crunching” in the joint during movement; the presence of free “joint mice” in the joint can cause blockage of the joint.