Osteoarthritis (aka OA) is a condition that affects the joints. It is the most common form of arthritis and according to NHS statistics, accounts for around 1 million GP visits per year in the UK. Osteoarthritis mostly occurs in the knees, hips, spine and small joints of the hands and base of the big toe. However, almost any joint can be affected.
- joint tenderness
- increased pain and stiffness following periods of inactivity
- joints appearing slightly larger or more ‘knobbly’ than usual
- a grating or crackling sound or sensation in your joints
- limited range of movement in your joints
- weakness and muscle wasting (loss of muscle bulk)
Rheumatoid arthritis (aka RA) is a chronic condition that causes pain and swelling in the joints, it usually affects more women than men, and usually occurs after 50 years old. The key characteristic of RA is pain within the joints, particularly after any period of rest. Hands, feet and wrists are commonly affected, but it can also damage other parts of the body.
- warmth and redness
- loss of function and weakness around the joints
- early morning stiffness
- flare ups leading to more intense and severe symptoms for a short period of time