Common symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness, tenderness, swelling, and crunching or creaking in joints, as listed by WebMD. In severe cases of osteoarthritis, the condition may cause deformed joints or decreased range of motion. While symptoms most often affect the joints, patients may also notice muscle weakness.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the top layer of cartilage in a joint wears away, reports the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease. Without sufficient cartilage, bones rub together, which causes joint discomfort and movement issues.
The severity of osteoarthritis symptoms varies from mild to severe, depending on how advanced the condition becomes, according to WebMD. Some osteoarthritis patients notice only slight discomfort or stiffness, while others experience severe pain and the complete loss of joint use. Stiffness is often worse in the morning or after sitting for long periods of time. The stiffness may subside as the patient moves around and uses his joints throughout the course of the day.
Osteoarthritis does not usually cause skin redness, rash, hot skin or fevers, as noted by MedlinePlus. These symptoms often indicate another medical condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Physicians typically use patient history, physical exams, X-rays and MRIs to diagnose osteoarthritis.