Osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis) occurs when the cartilage cushioning within a joint starts to breakdown. Rheumatoid Arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system starts to attack the lining of a joint. The joint damage can result in severe deformities. Are all joint pains signs of arthritis? No. Tennis elbow/ epicondylitis is a condition that can be confused with arthritis. Frozen shoulder is a condition that leads to less movement within the shoulder, as well as pain and stiffness also mistaken for arthritis.

Arthritis on human skeleton

Warning Signs of Arthritis:

  • Persistent pain and stiffness in the morning.
  • Pain, tenderness or swelling over one or more joints
  • Recurrence of symptoms.

How is the diagnosis made?

A thorough case history is vital to the diagnosis of arthritis. Your doctor will ask you a series of questions such as:

  • How long have you had this problem?
  • How intense is the pain?
  • How often does it occur?
  • What makes the pain better/worse?

A full physical examination is then performed; this will help your doctor to rule out other conditions that may cause joint pain and stiffness. To confirm the diagnosis your doctor may ask for blood tests or even x-ray.