Does Osteoarthritis Cause Swelling?

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Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) is not related to the abnormality or the wrong respond of the body immune system. In general, it is usually triggered by aging joints or some lifestyle factors such as obesity or injury due to certain physical activity /accident. How about the symptoms, does it cause swelling?

How do you get the problem?

There are several types of arthritis, and osteoarthritis is the most common type. It is caused by a condition that leads to ‘wear & tear’ in the affected joint. This can be injury, aging joints, or something else.

Normally, your joints have healthy cartilage. It is so crucial to help absorb energy for each movement and allow a bone’s end glide over another with almost no friction.

But in OA, the cartilage doesn’t work as well as it should. It breaks down and wears away.

The problem can make the motion of the affected joints work on limited basis. Each motion can be discomfort or even painful.

image_illustration195In general, it is a common joint problem, particularly as you age. Yap, older age is the most significant risk factor of the problem. Other conditions that can increase the risk include:

  1. Gender! This issue may be still debatable. While some experts put gender as one of risk factors, others don’t. But if gender does have an effect, it affects women. Without known reason, OA is slightly more common in women than in men.
  2. Obesity! More pounds of excessive fat /weight you gain can cause more pressure on your joints (especially on your knee joints) when you walk or just standing. The excessive weight can have contribution in making cartilages on both of your knee joints to break down and wear away.
  3. Injuries that affect the joints. This can occur from accident and is pretty common in athletes (they are at high risk of getting joint injuries when playing sports).
  4. In some people, bone deformities (defective cartilage /malformed joints) can occur at birth.
  5. Your daily activities may also have an effect. For instance, if your job often involves a repetitive movement that can put extra stress /pressure on your joints, there is greater chance for OA to occur.

The following health conditions also can increase the risk:


Many diabetic people report that they experience symptoms of arthritis. The direct link between diabetes and arthritis is not fully understood yet.

But it seems that both conditions share the same trigger factors. For instance, they are commonly found in older ages. We are more likely to gain fat and lose muscles as we age.

Thyroid problem (particularly hypothyroid)

Hypothyroid is under-active thyroid, a condition of when your thyroid produces thyroid hormone poorly. Lack of thyroid hormones can cause some complications, and one of them is the risk of obesity.

If there is no adequate thyroid hormone, your metabolism doesn’t run optimally. As a result, you are relatively easier to gain weight. And as mentioned before, obesity is a risk factor for OA.

Paget’s disease

This disease can affect the mechanism of the body in renewing and repairing the bone, because it can interrupt the normal cycle of bone repair & renewal (a cycle in which the old bone tissue is replaced by new bone tissue).

Many people with Paget’s disease often complain about bone pain that usually can get worse when lying down. It rarely leads to complications, but however it also can be serious because can be potential to cause other conditions such as OA, bone deformities, and hearing loss.

Can OA cause swelling?

The affected joint may look abnormally-shaped or appear larger than usual. Swelling of the joint may be a sign that there is a tear in the ligament /muscle tendon or even a broken bone.

Some types of arthritis (such as osteoarthritis) are common causes behind joint swelling. This symptom may be followed with other symptoms, especially such as joint pain and stiffness.

Other symptoms of OA include:

  1. The affected joint is warm when you touch it.
  2. Joint pain – this can vary. While some say that it may become constant to feel the pain on the affected joint (typically in severe cases), others only feel it when they move the affected joint.
  3. The movement with the affected joints can be on limited basis, as noted before. You cannot move the affected joint through its full /complete range of motion.
  4. Stiffness, which usually strikes in the morning. This symptom may also occur after lying down or sitting longer than 15 minutes.
  5. Favoring the painful joint may lead to muscle weakness.
  6. A condition called Heberden’s nodes may also occur. It is a growth of bony knobs near the affected joints, in which bumps can be noticed on the outermost finger joints.

OA is not the single cause behind the problem. Joint swelling can be associated with many health conditions. The following are other possible causes:

One Comment
  1. Reg
    July 19, 2021 | Reply

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