Joint pain affects everyone at least once in his or her lifetime. It is a very common problem with many possible causes. In general, joint pain is the result of a joint disorder or a joint injury. The following are some common causes of joint pain:
Arthritis is the most common cause of joint pain. The two main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis causes damage to the cartilage in the joints, which causes swelling, inflammation, stiffness and inability to move. It commonly affects the wrists, hands, hips, and knees. The cartilage in the joints functions as cushion and shock absorber in your joints.
Osteoarthritis is usually a gradual process where the cartilage damage worsens over time. Obesity can cause stress on your joints and make you more at risk for this type of arthritis. Usually staying active and maintaining a healthy weight can slow down the progression.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune joint disorder where your immune system attacks your normal tissues in your joints. This causes inflammation, leading to joint pain and damage to your cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis affects more women than men and can deform and debilitate the joints over time. In addition to inflammation, fluid buildup can add to the joint pain.
Inflammation of the joint
There are different types of conditions that can cause inflammation of the joint. When the tissue lining of the joint is inflamed it is called traumatic synovitis. When the cushioning pads around your joints are inflamed it is called bursitis. These conditions are commonly a result of a joint injury. The best way to prevent joint injury is to use protective wear and proper shoes when playing sports or being part of any other activity.
Gout or pseudogout
Gout causes sudden attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints, which usually occurs in the big toe. Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid, which is a by-product of protein breakdown. Your kidneys usually cannot eliminate the excess uric acid when it is not functioning properly or when you consume certain foods with high levels of uric acid. These foods include red meat, seafood, and beer.
When uric acid levels become high, crystals form in the joints that lead to inflammation and severe pain. If the level becomes very high, crystals form in the joints. The crystals cause the joints to become inflamed and severely painful. You can manage your gout through regular exercise and a healthy diet. Instead of alcohol and sugary drinks, you should drink plenty of water.
Pseudogout is a similar condition to gout, in that crystals of calcium are deposited in and around the joint. However, unlike gout, pseudogout usually affects the knee joint. The cause for pseudogout is still unclear. Old age and family history can increase your risk.
Damage of the kneecap
Have you heard of chondromalacia? It’s also known as “runner’s knee.” It is a condition where the cartilage in your kneecap (patella) is damaged. It can occur in young people who are active and older adults who have arthritis. Chondromalacia is most often caused by a sports overuse injury or improper knee alignment, which is seen in many runners. You can treat this problem yourself with anti-inflammatories, an ice pack and rest.
Sprains and strains
Joint pain can also be caused sprains and strains. Sometimes when you have a sprain or strain, ligaments become stretched or torn. Your ligaments are tissues that connect your bones at a joint. Sprains and strains usually occur when you fall, twist or get injured. In addition to joint pain, you may have swelling and trouble moving. In some cases, muscle spasms can occur. Initial treatment for sprains and strains involves resting the injured area, ice therapy, and bandage to compress and stabilize the joint.
These are the most common causes of joint pain. The best way to manage your risk is through proper exercise, healthy diet, and protective gear during physical activity.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
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