Arthritis Symptoms: Signs You Might Have It

Medically Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, MS, DO on July 21, 2021

Symptoms of osteoarthritis may include:

  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness when you wake up or after you’ve been sitting for a while
  • Tenderness -- the area is sore when you touch it
  • Lack of movement -- the joint won’t complete its full range of motion
  • Grating -- you might feel things rubbing together inside the joint
  • Bone spurs -- lumps of bone form around the joint

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include:

  • Joint pain, swelling and tenderness for 6 weeks or longer
  • Morning stiffness for at least 30 minutes
  • More than one joint affected, especially small joints in your hands, wrists, and feet
  • The same joints on both sides of the body are affected

Symptoms of infectious arthritis may include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Joint inflammation
  • Tenderness
  • Sharp pain that is related to an injury or infection elsewhere in your body.


  • The pain and stiffness come on quickly for no apparent reason.
  • The pain comes with a fever.
  • The pain develops quickly and is related to redness and extreme tenderness of the joint.
  • You notice pain and stiffness in your arms, legs, or back after sitting for short periods or after a night's sleep.
  • You have swollen or painful joints for more than 2 weeks.
  • You have limited motion in joints for more than 2 weeks.

Show Sources


American College of Rheumatology. 

DePuy Orthopaedics. 

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. 

Arthritis Foundation. 

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University. 

National Institutes of Health. 

The Center for Current Research. 

National Internet Health. 

Alternative Medicine Foundation.

Mayo Clinic: “Osteoarthritis.”

Arthritis Foundation: “Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms.”

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