The most common symptom of arthritis is that the joints at first become painful. The pain can have many degrees of intensity and it can come and go. Sometimes it disappears for months, even years, then it returns again. At first the pain could be a feeling of numbness and stiffness. Sometimes a creaking and cracking of the joints is felt. Often the joints become swollen and inflamed. Pain can be dull but also very severe, occurring mostly at night and in the morning.
It is important to understand that these symptoms, although they may seem to be the very first signals of approaching arthritis, are not at all the first symptoms of the onset of the disease. Arthritis is not a local disease of a particular joint but a systemic disorder, a disease which affects the whole body. It could have taken years and years of abuse to bring about the systemic disturbance in bodily functions which eventually leads to a breakdown of the health and the functions of the joints.