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Conditions in Depth

This page contains the basic information about Osteoarthritis .

Return to the Osteoarthritis Main Condition Center


Symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Joint pain and swelling after activity or in response to a change of weather

  • Limited flexibility, especially after not moving for a while

  • Bony lumps at the end of fingers, called Heberden's nodes, or on the middle joints of fingers, called Bouchard's nodes

  • A grinding sensation when the joint is moved

  • Numbness or tingling in an arm or leg, which can happen if the arthritis has caused bone changes that are putting pressure on a nerve; for example, in the neck or lower back

People who have osteoarthritis often complain of a deep ache, centered in the joint. Typically, the pain is aggravated by using the joint and relieved by rest. However, as the disease worsens, the pain becomes more constant. Often, when the pain is significant during the night, it interferes with sleep.

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Created: 4/27/2004   |   Last Modified: 8/21/2006
From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2006 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.