Arthritis, in the simplest terms, can be defined as a condition marked by inflammation of one or several joints. It is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world. There are several types of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, etc. Pain and swelling in legs, knees or feet are the most common symptoms of arthritis.
What exactly causes arthritis is unknown; however, several factors are believed to contribute in the same. Arthritis can be caused due to numerous reasons; with increasing age being one of the most common causes. Apart from age, excess weight and genetics are important causes of arthritis. Injury, trauma, illness or infection in the joints can also result in arthritis. Sometimes, abnormal metabolism and overactive immune system can also cause arthritis.
Pain in the legs is one of the most common and prominent symptoms of arthritis; and is observed in all arthritis types. Apart from leg pain, the following are the symptoms that are seen in arthritis.
Pain: Joint pain in the arms and legs is the most prominent symptom of arthritis. This pain may be dull to severe, depending on the severity and type of arthritis. In most cases, arthritis pain in legs gets severe when the person wakes up after a night's sleep, gets up or bends his leg after keeping it in prolonged resting position. Pain in feet can cause a lot of discomfort and can even restrict your movements.
Stiffness: Stiffness in nearly all joints of the body like arms, legs, fingers and wrists is also one of the most common arthritis symptoms. Similar to the arthritis pain, stiffness is experienced when a person wakes up after a night's sleep. As no movement of leg occurs all night, it stiffens in the morning and the stiffening lasts for nearly an hour. Pain and stiffness are symptoms of all types of arthritis.
Swelling: Painful swelling is yet another symptom of arthritis in legs. All the signs of inflammation, like swelling, heat, tenderness, etc. are observed in arthritis. Among all the other arthritis symptoms in legs, swelling is the only one that is easily noticeable, and hence can help in identifying the disease quickly.
Along with these major symptoms, one can also observe other symptoms like chills, sudden pain, loss of flexibility and extreme tenderness in joints. Due to the pain and swelling, a person suffering from arthritis experiences difficulty in walking or even moving around in the house. Arthritis symptoms in feet also include inflammation of the feet, suffering from claw feet, etc. If a person suffers from infectious arthritis, he will also experience symptoms like fever, chills, sharp pain, etc. In case of children, symptoms related to arthritis like loss of appetite, weight loss and anemia are also observed. It has also been observed that a child develop rashes on the joints when suffering from juvenile arthritis.
If a person experiences the above mentioned symptoms due to any unknown cause, he should consult the doctor to check for the possibility of arthritis. Similarly, if frequent leg pain or stiffness, that worsens over the time is observed, one should consult the doctor. Blood tests, physical examination and X-ray help in diagnosis of arthritis. The swelling in joints may not be noticed in the X-ray in the initial stage, but can be found in a more advanced stage. Similarly, advanced techniques like an MRI can be used for diagnosing arthritis.
One should remember that there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. However, there certainly are medications and treatment options that help in relieving the pain and reducing other symptoms of arthritis. Therefore, once arthritis is diagnosed, the doctor may prescribe you anti-inflammatory drugs to ease pain and swelling. Physiotherapy can also be effectively used to improve joint movement and prevent stiffness.
Physical therapy, massage and exercises can help ease arthritis symptoms in feet and legs. Lastly, it is advised to consult the doctor immediately if aforementioned symptoms are observed. Early diagnosis and treatment can definitely lessen the pain and prevent the condition from worsening.