|Notice whether exercise causes an intensified ache in your joints. This is the first telltale sign of arthritis.
|Take note if you experience stiffness in one or more joints in the morning that typically subsides after 15 to 30 minutes of movement. This may be an early sign.
|Evaluate your afflicted joint for range of motion. Does the joint creak or cause you pain when you bend it to its normal limits? This may be a sign of arthritis.
|Is your skin pulled taut over a joint due to swelling? Is the taut skin shiny? These symptoms are indicative of joint swelling due to either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis (though they can also be signs of gout or an infection).
|Test your afflicted joint for temperature. For instance, test your right knee joint by placing one hand on your right knee and one on your left knee, and feel for a temperature difference between the two. Hot joints can be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis, gout or joint infection. Cold, bone-hard joints are apt to be a sign of osteoarthritis.
|Notice whether the joint pain is associated with fever or noticeable swelling. These are signs of rheumatoid arthritis or joint infection.
|Pay attention if your joints have a gritty sensation, such that they seem to crackle and make noise when moving. In osteoarthritis, irritated cartilage and bones rub together, making a grating sound.
|Check the location of the painful joints are they located symmetrically? For instance, if you have joint inflammation in some of the fingers of your right hand, do you feel joint pain in the corresponding fingers of your left hand? This is characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis.
|Visit your doctor for advice and possible treatment if you suspect that you have arthritis.
|Researchers have recently discovered a faulty gene that causes one type of osteoarthritis. Obesity also predisposes a person to osteoarthritis. The causes of other types of osteoarthritis are unknown.