How your creaking joints could be a sign of something serious – and when to see your GP
MANY people put their creaking joints being due to old age but it could be a sign of something more serious that needs attention from your GP.
Symptoms can come and go which can be dependent on your activity levels and even the weather.
Persistent pain and stiffness in your joints could be a sign of osteoarthritis[/caption]
The NHS warns though you should consult a doctor if you have persistent symptoms as this could indicate osteoarthritis.
Other symptoms you or your doctor should be aware of:
- joint tenderness
- increased pain and stiffness when you have not moved your joints for a while
- 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)
While osteoarthritis can affect any joint in your body, the most common areas affected are the knees, hips and the small joints in your hands.
On most occasions you will only experience symptoms in one joint or a few joints at any one time.
Osteoarthritis of the knee
People with osteoarthritis in their knees usually are affected in both knees over time – although some may only experience the condition in one knee due to an injury or other condition which affects that particular knee.
Most sufferers will experience pain when they walk, especially when walking up or down hills or stairs.
Your knees may “give way” beneath you on occasion or it is difficult to straighten your legs.
You may also hear a soft, grating sound when you move the joint that is affected.
Osteoarthritis of the hip
Anyone who has osteoarthritis of the hip will have trouble moving your hip joints, such as difficulty putting on your shoes and socks or getting in or out of a car.
Sufferers will usually also have pain in the groin or outside the hip.
This can often be worse when you move your hips but it can also affect people when they are simply resting or sleeping.
Osteoarthritis of the hand
Osteoarthritis usually affects three main areas of your hand:
- the base of your thumb
- the joints closest to your fingertips
- the middle joints of your fingers
Sufferers may feel their fingers become stiff, painful and swollen and bumps can develop on the joints.
The pain may decrease over time and eventually disappear completely but the bumps and swelling can remain.
The fingers may bend sideways slightly at the affected joints and you could develop painful cysts – fluid-filled lumps – on the backs of your fingers.
A bump at the base of your thumb where it joins the wrist may also develop in some cases.
This can be painful and carrying out some manual tasks can become difficult, such as writing, turning keys or opening jars.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoarthritis but there are a number of treatments that can help relieve the symptoms.
The main treatments for the symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- lifestyle measures – such as maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly
- medication – to relieve your pain
- supportive therapies – to help make everyday activities easier
In some cases, where other treatments have not helped, surgery to repair, strengthen or replace damaged joints may also be an option.
Sufferers can experience pain and stiffness in the joints of their fingers[/caption]
Source of data and images: thesun