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Osteoarthritic Pain

The causes of osteoarthritic pain

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the UK. It’s a long-term condition that cannot be cured. It usually develops gradually and some people experience pain that becomes steadily worse. This is common in large joints like hips, shoulders and knees, although all joints can be susceptible. Many people suffer with osteoarthritis in the joints of their hands.

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage that protects bones where they meet in joints becomes weaker. As it thins the bone underneath thickens, leading to inflammation in the tissue of the joint lining, causing pain.

Man holding his knee

There are several factors known to increase the risk of suffering with osteoarthritic pain

The symptoms of osteoarthritis

  • Stiffness and pain in joints that lasts no longer than 30 minutes in the morning
  • Joint pain that tends to be worse while exercising and at the end of the day
  • Stiffness after inactivity such as sitting, known as ‘gelling’
  • Joints that may not move as freely as normal and may ‘creak’ or ‘crack’ when moved
  • Joints that appear swollen
  • In more advanced cases constant pain, with everyday tasks and movement becoming difficult

Delaying and managing
your osteoarthritis

The best general advice is to keep moving. If you have osteoarthritis don’t be afraid to use your joints. Low-impact, regular exercise can help to both delay the onset of osteoarthritis and to keep affected joints mobile and pain free.

EAT WELL

Try to maintain your ideal weight. Obesity puts joints under more stress.

PACE YOURSELF

Don’t stress your joints with excess manual work. Spread out hard jobs.

DRESS FOR COMFORT

Wearing shoes with thick, soft soles can act as shock absorbers and reduce heavy impact on knees and hips. High heels can put extra strain on joints.

IMPROVE YOUR POSTURE

Developing and maintaining good posture can do a lot to keep osteoarthritis at bay and reduce pain when you have the condition.

Think about your posture throughout the day - while walking, at work, while driving or just sitting watching television. Avoid slouching and slumping, and use your core muscles to keep your posture under control.

More
osteoarthritis
help and advice

Arthritis Action
NHS choices