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5 Symptoms of Arthritis

Mar 02, 2024

The prevalence of arthritis in the United States is eye-opening — 23% of adults (54 million) have some form of the disease. More alarming is the fact that this number is expected to rise to 78 million by 2040, thanks in large part to an aging population.

Standing by to help combat the pain and discomfort that are the hallmarks of arthritis is the Florida Pain Management Institute, lead by  Dr. Adam Shestack, Dr. Cy Blanco, Dr. Joshua Powers, and their team of pain management experts. We understand the limits that joint pain and inflammation can place on your life, which is why we want to take the time to review some of the early signs of arthritis so that we can take quick action.

1. Joint pain

As we’ve already mentioned, joint pain is the first clear warning flag that there’s a problem in your joint. Called arthralgia, this pain can range from a dull ache to sharp, burning sensations with certain movements. Outside of soft tissue damage due to trauma or overuse, such as a torn or strained ligament or tendon, the likely culprit behind your joint discomfort is arthritis.

2. Stiffness

Arthritis is often defined as any condition that leads to joint pain and inflammation, which makes stiffness a primary symptom. In order to protect your joint, your body creates inflammation in the area, which can interfere with your ability to move the joint freely. This stiffness may be a constant companion or come and go with your activity levels.

3. Swelling

While swelling is caused by inflammation, we want to separate the two symptoms as visible swelling is easy to identify. When your joint is inflamed due to arthritis, you may not see any outward signs, but, rather, experience more discomfort and stiffness in the joint. When there are outward signs of this inflammation in the form of swelling, it means that your immune system is highly active in that area.

4. Fingers and toes

Many forms of arthritis affect your larger, weight-bearing joints, which makes sense given their workload. If you’re experiencing pain and stiffness in your smaller joints, such as those in your fingers and toes, it may be an early sign of rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disorder in which your body mistakenly attacks the lining of your joints.

If your pain and discomfort are largely in your big toe, this could signal gout, which is a metabolic form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in your system. This buildup can lead to the formation of sharp, crystal-like structures inside your joints — again, namely your big toe, though it can affect other joints like your ankles, elbows, knees, and wrists.

5. Limited activities

Of the 54 million adults in the US who’ve been diagnosed with some form of arthritis, 24 million are limited in their activities. These activities depend upon which of your joints are affected, but if you find that you’re steering clear of certain activities or tasks due to discomfort, it’s time to seek our help.

Treating arthritis

No matter what form of arthritis you have, our goal is to improve your quality of life by restoring pain-free movement. While there may be no cure for arthritis, we do have the tools and experience necessary to slow its progression and relieve your pain. Some of our arthritis treatment options include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections 
  • Viscosupplementation knee injections
  • Topical medications such as steroids and capsaicin
  • Oral medications to slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
  • Nutrition and diet recommendations
  • Acupuncture

If you suspect you may be developing arthritis, contact our office in Delray Beach or  Boynton Beach, Florida, as soon as possible. The earlier we can intervene, the better (and quicker) we can get you back to your active and pain-free lifestyle.