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Readers Respond: Describe What Osteoarthritis Pain Feels Like

Responses: 11

By

Updated June 05, 2010

Osteoarthritis can be quite painful. But truly that depends on the extent of the joint damage. The pain is not the same for every person who has osteoarthritis, nor does any individual experience the pain exactly the same every day.

Most people describe osteoarthritis pain as achy, not sharp. Some feel osteoarthritis pain is mild, while others describe it as intense. If someone asked you to describe your osteoarthritis pain and what it feels like, what would you say?

Hands and Feet

My issues are in both hands and feet. Some days are worse than others, but I am at a point (at 46 years old) that I am going to need to use a cane to help me walk due to the pain if I attempt to bend my feet in any way. I take short steps to keep from falling. My hands throb and sometimes I will get sharp pains either up my fingers or down my legs into my feet. I still work full time but wonder how much longer I can keep it up and what I will do if someone walks in while I am sitting at work, crying from the pain and throbbing of my limbs. I wake up in the middle of the night, in severe pain and sometimes with my hands/feet locked and unable to move them. It scares me! Its a waking nightmare! And it seems to be getting worse so quickly I don't know what to do! What was it like to be "normal"? I have forgotten...now I'm just scared.
—Guest Toni W

Undescribable pain

My thumbs hurt so bad it's unbearable. I have degenerative disc disease in my neck and back. I have had two discs replaced in my neck and fused..titanium plate and screws. I thought I knew pain but my thumbs have introduced me to a whole new world of pain. Nothing seems to help!!! There is no way around it... you use your hands for everything. I get bad spasms and drop things multiple times daily! It is beyond frustrating. Any suggestions?????????::(
—Guest T

Pain! Pain! Pain!

I have arthritis in my fingers and suffer sharp, shooting pains so bad that it brings tears to my eyes. My hands, which used to be beautiful are now bent and misshapen. Sometimes I feel so frustrated about this and worry about the future if I am not able to do things for myself.
—mmpbaron

OA pain

I suffered a stress fracture in my foot the week before a partial knee replacement. I popped the bone back in place, went home from the gym and put on hard sole shoes. I never told my ortho doc because I was afraid he would postpone surgery. I told a friend months later and she was shocked that I was able to withstand the pain of a broken bone. It didn't hurt any worse that the pain in my knee. When I got new orthotics four months later, podiatrist x-rayed my foot to humor me and came back surprised and showed me where the fracture was. The pain of OA can be excruciating. I wake up in the mornings dreading to put my feet on the floor because of OA in my feet. I need to find a doctor who understands what I'm saying about the pain.
—wallacemathteach

Achy *and* sharp

I have mild osteoarthritis in numerous joints, including my neck, which is rarely a sharp pain. But right now the pain in my hands from the thumb arthritis is both achy and sharp. Really painful. Crunchy, sometimes one of them has a spasm. I have too many work years left, working in computer technology, for this!
—acter

Whole body stiff, pain, grating sound

I AM 55 YEARS AND SUFFER FROM VERY WEAK OSTEOPOROSIS AND THE TREATMENT OF BONIVA MONTHLY TABLETS DID NOT WORK AND ALSO EXPERIENCE THESE SYMPTOMS . I EXPERIENCE JOINT PAIN AND STIFFNESS IN MY SPINE, NECK, LOWER BACK, SIDES OF MY KNEES AND HIPS. SOMETIMES FEELING HELPLESS, LIMITATION ON DAILY ACTIVITIES, JOB LIMITATION, ALSO EXPERIENCE JOINT STIFFNESS PARTICULARLY WHEN I FIRST WAKE UP IN THE MORNING OR HAVE BEEN IN ONE POSITION FOR A LONG TIME. I FEEL THE PAIN AT THE SIDES OF MY KNEE WHEN I GO UP AND DOWN THE STAIRS. FEELING PAIN EVEN AT NIGHT WHEN I AM RESTING THAT WAKES ME UP AND FEEL GRATING SOUND ALL OF MY BODY. MAKE ME UNCOFORTABLE THANK YOU FOR THIS WEBSITE
—Guest Carmela Saliba

Osteoarthiritis pain

The pain is just like Terry Ryder, Hennacat and rossdlannan descibed it. I have tried having a bath. It works while I'm in tub but when I retire at night the pain comes back and I find it very difficult to turn to a comfortable position. I have just started on a course of glucosamine forte 1500 and fish oil 1000 to see how that goes before I complain to my doctor but I will still make him aware of what I'm doing to help myself first before I consider the knife.
—mareekennedy

Pain

I used to think that passing a kidney stone was the most painful thing that happened in my life. Now my pain in my knee joint makes the kidney stone seem like a sunday picnic. It's different everyday but always extreme or excruciating. I can have pain in either or both my cartilage, the muscles above my knee, the muscles above the cartilage and worst is the stabbing pain in between the bones in the knee joint. The absolute worst is when I have all these pains at once and then the pain transfers to my hips/back, which debilitates me. The pain also causes the flesh around my knee to swell, become hot to the point that it feels on fire. It also makes the flesh feel as if it is ripping from my bones somedays.
—TerryRider

Osteoarthritis

My neck was so stiff that I could not turn my head to the left or right. I felt like I was having labor pains in my neck. Also, I felt like my head was too big for my body. It was excruciating pain!
—Guest Justtice

What does Osteoarthritis feel like

Sharp, grinding and totally debilatating. I stand up and have to wait for a few minutes till I am able to breath and move. Worse than childbirth cause you know that is going to go away - with this pain it never goes away.
—Rossclannan

OA pain

The primary site for my OA pain is the groin. Both sides are affected and both sides ache, though the left side is worse and aches the loudest. Sometimes when I move wrong or sit down suddenly, there is a sharp, almost grinding pain that takes my breath away. Then if I exercise or do chores I can get secondary muscular pain -- the muscle in the middle of my butt, and around the side of my butt. Then I have a muscle that goes from the inside of my left groin to the outside of my knee and the knee aches -- even under the patella. On a bad day, everything hurts -- both sides of the groin, all the outer muscles right down through my shins. On a good day, it's just a dull ache in the groin.
—Hennacat
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