When people think of arthritis, most of them imagine an older adult struggling to walk or enjoy activities. 

However, this image of arthritis doesn’t tell the whole picture. The elderly aren’t the only ones susceptible to arthritis.

Even though it affects a smaller portion of the population, arthritis can still affect young adults. It’s estimated that 8 in 100,000 people ages 18-34 suffer from arthritis. Arthritis can even be more severe if you get it as a young adult. 

Luckily, if you notice the signs early and start treating your arthritis right away, you can live a healthy and normal life. 

Check out this guide to learn about the signs of arthritis in young adults. 

1. Fatigue

None of us have the energy we used to have as children. However, as a young adult, you should still have a decent amount of energy.

If you feel unusually tired, it may be a sign that you suffer from arthritis. 

Of course, fatigue can be a sign of many different things. It may be as simple as not getting enough sleep every night, so you shouldn’t jump to conclusions. 

However, if your fatigue is accompanied by a general feeling of poor health or even depression, it may be a sign that something more serious is going on. 

2. Morning Stiffness 

Do you wake up every morning feeling stiff? 

If so, it may be an early sign that you’re suffering from arthritis. 

Of course, we all wake up feeling a little out of sorts and like we could use a good stretch. However, if your morning stiffness lasts for a few minutes or more, it may be a sign that you suffer from arthritis. 

If the stiffness lasts for several hours, then this is a sign that you are suffering from inflammatory arthritis. 

3. Joint Tenderness 

Joint tenderness is exactly what it sounds like – tenderness around your joints. 

Typically, joint tenderness occurs in combination with other signs, such as stiffness, redness, and pain. 

Often, if you can point to a specific injury or incident as a cause of the tenderness, it’s probably not arthritis. However, if you can’t think of anything that’s causing it, then there’s a chance that arthritis is the answer. 

4. Joint Pain 

Joint pain is the biggest telltale sign of arthritis. 

Typically, the joint pain will occur both while the body is at rest and while it’s active. Also, it’s usually equal on both sides of the body. 

In early rheumatoid arthritis, the pain usually begins in the fingers and the wrists. It’s also common to experience pain in the feet, ankles, knees, and shoulders. 

5. Red and Warm Joints 

If there is redness around your joints, this usually indicates that there is some kind of inflammation going on. 

When you see a doctor about redness around your joints, they’ll be able to perform tests to determine if the redness is from arthritis or something else, like an infection. 

Redness around your joints is also typically accompanied by warmth. Like redness, warmth also signifies inflammation. 

6. Fever 

If other symptoms like joint swelling and redness accompany a fever, then there’s a good chance that you’re experiencing early signs of arthritis. 

Also, keep in mind that if you’ve taken your temperature with an at-home thermometer and it drops after taking some Tylenol, this isn’t a sign that everything is fine.  

A fever is only a sign of arthritis if it is low-grade. If your fever is higher than 100 degrees, then it’s more likely that you’re suffering from some other illness or infection. 

7. Decreased Range of Motion 

Have you noticed lately that your range of motion seems to be decreasing?

If so, this may be a sign of arthritis. 

A decreased range of motion is a sign of arthritis because inflamed joints can cause your ligaments or tendons to become unstable and deformed. As the disease progresses, you may find that you’re unable to straighten or bend some of your joints. 

Luckily, some braces can help with your range of motion. Read more about these here. 

8. Lumps and Bumps  

Certain types of arthritis are associated with nodules. These are lumps that commonly develop near the joint area. 

At first, it may be difficult to recognize these lumps for what they are. However, once you do recognize them, it’s very important to see a doctor. 

A doctor can evaluate the nodules to determine whether they’re arthritic. 

9. Malaise 

Malaise is a general feeling of illness or an ill-at-ease feeling. 

While many drugs and illnesses can cause malaise, if it’s accompanied by any of the above symptoms, you could have arthritis. 

10. Usual Activities Have Become Difficult 

Have your usual daily activities become difficult? Do you find yourself opting to stay in more than usual because of how tired you are? Has it become difficult to do things you once loved, like hiking or riding a bike?

If the answer is yes, then this too may be a sign that you have arthritis as a young adult. 

Arthritis in Young Adults: What to Do Next 

Now that you know about the symptoms of arthritis in young adults, it’s time to take the next steps. 

If you recognize any of these signs, you must schedule an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor can help you figure out if your symptoms are from arthritis or something else. 

Once you’ve scheduled your doctor’s appointment, be sure to check out our blog for more healthy tips and tricks!

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