Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes joints to become painful and stiff.

It is the most common type of arthritis in the UK. It can involve almost any joint but typically affects the hands, knees, hips, and feet. For more information, please look at the NHS website for osteoarthritis

The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain and stiffness in your joints, which can make it difficult to move the affected joints and do certain activities.

The symptoms may come and go in episodes, which can be related to your activity levels and even the weather. In more severe cases, the symptoms can be continuous. You should see your GP if you have persistent symptoms of osteoarthritis so they can confirm the diagnosis and prescribe any necessary treatment.

Other symptoms you or your doctor may notice include:

  • joint tenderness
  • increased pain and stiffness when you have not moved your joints for a while, such as getting out of bed or standing from a chair
  • joints appearing slightly larger or more "knobbly" than usual
  • a grating or crackling sound or sensation in your joints
  • limited range of movement in your joints
  • weakness and muscle wasting (loss of muscle bulk)
  • giving way when turning or walking on uneven ground

Shared decision making                                                       

After your osteoarthritis diagnosis your health care professional will discuss the management options available. For some areas of the body such as the hip and knee there are several treatment options to discuss, information can be found in the links below for other areas such as the hands treatment options are limited.

How can I help myself?

  • Take pain relief regularly when needed to allow you to move better.
  • Pace your daily activities throughout the day.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. – Check you weight with the Body Mass Index calculator here
  • Reduce stress levels through meditation, mindfulness and breathing exercises.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Exercise regularly
  • Wear well-fitting shoes with soft thick soles (trainers are ideal especially when exercising).
  • Look for local support groups, and information online

Local Support Group for newly diagnosed patients with Hip or knee arthritis

The NHS has partnered with Versus Arthritis to ensure that our patients are given as much support and information as possible. Versus Arthritis is a charity which provides help and support for people living with arthritis and we have asked them to extend their services to people living in Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire.