If I have joint pain, does this mean I have osteoarthritis?

If I have joint pain, does this mean I have osteoarthritis?

While osteoarthritis is a common cause of joint pain, many different things can cause pain in the joints. For example, autoimmune diseases, infection and other diseases such as gout can cause joint pain. Osteoarthritis is more common among the elderly, and in joints that have had previous trauma or surgery.   
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If you experience joint pain, chances are that you do not have arthritis. There are many more people who have joint pain than those who have arthritis. In addition, joint pain often comes and goes, whereas arthritis is chronic.

In the early stages of osteoarthritis, you may feel some pain or stiffness in the joint, especially after the joint has been used more than usual. For example, you may notice pain after a walk that is longer than typical. You also may feel stiffness in the joint after you rest. Once you are active again, the stiffness usually takes a few minutes to go away.

You also may have osteoarthritis and not feel it. Many people experience changes in their joints because of osteoarthritis, but do not feel pain or stiffness.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.