Arthritis is incredibly common; about one in five American adults have been diagnosed with it. There are a few different types of arthritis, each of them is progressive and can become debilitating. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of specific joints, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation, and gouty arthritis (often called gout) is a buildup of uric acid that causes crystals to form in the joints.

Arthritis treatment is most effective when administered in early stages. Knowing some of the early warning signs of arthritis can help you to seek medical evaluation before the disease progresses, increasing the chances of early diagnosis and treatment. If you recognize any of the following symptoms, make an appointment or speak with your doctor at your next check up. Simple examinations and testing may be covered by health insurance.

Joint Pain When Active

If your knees hurt when walking up stairs, fingers hurt when grasping objects, or shoulders hurt when reaching up, these may be signs of either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis will affect one joint, while rheumatoid arthritis may affect different joints and move throughout the body. The skin around the joints may also be red and sensitive to the touch.

Sudden and Intense Pain in the Big Toe

Gouty arthritis often causes no warning signs until the big toe becomes swollen, red, and extremely painful. The pain may subside or other joints in the lower half of the body may become painful and swollen, but gouty arthritis usually only affects one joint at a time. Gout attacks can occur more frequently and become more painful if left untreated.

Fatigue and Ill Feeling

Rheumatoid arthritis can cause you to feel chronically tired, feverish, and overall ill. You may lose your appetite and notice weight loss. You may also feel changes and issues with other body areas, such as itchy or painful eyes. These issues are a result of inflammation throughout the body.

Bumps on the Finger or Toe Joints

Bony protrusions on the joints of the fingers are a common symptom of osteoarthritis. The joints where these protrusions are found are usually stiff and painful. In some cases, the bony protrusions may be found on the toes, often when the sufferer performs repetitive heavy physical labor.

Stiffness after Inactivity

If the joints are stiff after a period of inactivity, it may be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis. Stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis can often be felt in the morning or after watching television for a long period of time. The joints may take a while to loosen up and usually feel sore and painful.

Seeking medical assistance when experiencing early signs of arthritis can help you to treat the condition before it affects your life.