Odd aches and pains may be the start of osteoarthritis, (OA) especially if there is a family history of OA.
This condition causes deterioration of cartilage, the flexible tissue lining joints. As the joint space narrows the bone surfaces change shape, and this ultimately damages the joint and causes pain.
Symptoms may be mild at first, with pain and stiffness after exertion. Joints are stiff in the morning then loosen up with movement. Eventually pain becomes the main feature and can lead to sleep deprivation and depression.
Commonly, several joints are affected at the same time, most often the knees, hip, back and finger joints. This can affect everyday activities making it difficult to eg climb stairs, get out of the bath, open a jar, wring out a cloth or turn a key. The neck joints can also be affected, causing shoulder and arm pain.
X-rays are helpful in making the diagnosis, and treatment is tailored to each individual, with anti-inflammatories and analgesics being widely used. In some advanced cases, surgery may be recommended. Talk to your doctor about your pain.