6 Conditions That Can Cause Joint Pain

Dr Handicap - knee joint

For most people, joints are not something that we give much thought to. Joints are the point at which two parts of your skeleton meet, so you’re using your joints pretty much every time you move. Your joints are an integral part of your day-to-day life, but unless you have a condition that limits the ability of your joints to do their job, you won’t be aware of how debilitating joint problems can be. There are lots of conditions that can cause joint pain and hamper your mobility. Many people with joint issues require specialized care and accommodations including medication, physical therapy, crutches, and disabled parking permits.

1. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that occurs when the cartilage and bone between the joints break down. In turn, this causes joint pain and stiffness as well as difficulty in movement at the site of the joint. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint and the site of the condition can affect the severity of the condition. It can be caused by obesity as well as activity related stressors, including manual jobs that put a lot of stress on the body. If the condition is especially severe, patients can be treated with joint replacement surgery, but the usual treatment is painkilling medication and physical therapy.

2. Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue. It has many symptoms, as the condition can cause the body to turn on any kind of tissue, but joint pain and swelling is one of the main indicators. Patients with lupus usually present with joint pain in the wrist and hand, but the joint pain associated with lupus is not usually considered to be as debilitating as arthritic joint pain. Patients with lupus will usually be treated with immunosuppressant drugs and can manage their joint pain through painkillers.

Dr Handicap - toe joints

3. Gout

Gout is caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood and can be classified as an inflammatory joint condition. High levels of uric acid in the blood leads to crystallized build-ups at the sites of joints, causing a red, inflamed, and painful joint. Gout can be caused by poor diet and genetics and can also be a symptom of metabolic disorders. Gout attacks are incredibly painful and sufferers have to take anti-inflammatory medication to manage their symptoms when attacks occur. It is most common to get gout at extremity joints such as fingers and toes.

4. Bursitis

Bursitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the small sacs of cushioning fluid, or bursae, at the site of joints. When you move a healthy joint, bursae support the movement by creating a smooth movement. When bursitis occurs, joint movement can cause a stinging pain and redness at the site of the bursitis. When treating bursitis, patients need to be treated for infection and if none is there, their symptoms can be helped with ice, anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy to ensure that the bursae can heal while continuing to support the joint.

Dr Handicap - physiotherapy

5. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a very different condition to osteoarthritis in that it is an autoimmune disorder. It occurs when the body attacks healthy joints, causing damage to them and leaving sufferers with loss of mobility, joint pain when moving, and redness at the site of the arthritis. It can be caused by genetic inheritance or by lifestyle factors including smoking, and treatment options are limited. Patients can be given painkillers or physiotherapy but if the symptoms are particularly bad, it is sometimes necessary to have surgery. Due to the unpredictability of the cause, it is particularly hard to prevent against getting rheumatoid arthritis.

6. Tendonitis

As the name suggests, tendonitis affects the tendons. Tendons are strong tissues that connect muscles to bones and are integral in the efficiency of movement in joints. It can be difficult to officially diagnose tendonitis, as it usually just presents as a generalized pain at the site of a joint, but if you’re an active person and have had long-term pain in the same site, it may be worth speaking to your doctor about tendonitis. Like most joint disorders, tendonitis is usually treated by physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, and rest. You can aggravate tendonitis by returning to exercise too quickly, so it’s important to be conservative in how and when you return to your active lifestyle.

If you are unlucky enough to suffer from joint pain, you are not alone. There are lots of supports available to people who are in pain and you will be able to receive specialized care depending on the severity of your condition. Adapt your car, use a handicap parking space, rely on your friends, and don’t let any kind of condition stop you from living the best life possible.