Are you worried about your Joint Pain?
One of the most common causes of joint pain is arthritis and as you get older your chances of developing osteoarthritis increase significantly. If you are experiencing osteoarthritis, you may experience pain and stiffness in the joint, accompanied by tenderness, reddening of the area, a grating or crunching sound when you try to move your joints. The pain and stiffness will also reduce your range of motion and have a significant effect on your mobility. Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoarthritis but there are some pain relief or anti-inflammatory medicines, capsaicin cream, a nerve blocking cream that you can apply directly to the affected area or steroid injections that will help relieve symptoms and therapies such as hot and cold packs, Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), a therapy that uses a machine to send electrical impulses through electrodes attached to your skin which causes numbness relieving intense pain, even mobility devices like knee braces to help support the joint may reduce pain or discomfort and improve quality of life. Although, some cases may require surgery to replace the damaged joint.
A common cause of joint pain is a strain or sprain to a tendon or muscle of the joint, it can be very uncomfortable and painful to experience, symptoms may make it very difficult for you to maintain your usual routine and may prevent you from doing certain activities completely while you recover. If you have experienced a sprain or strain then it is very important that you rest for a while, avoiding strenuous activities like exercising or heavy lifting, that may exacerbate your symptoms. If you feel the need, you can take pain killers to lessen the pain, like paracetamol or ibuprofen tablets or gels and treat the affected area with an ice pack to help reduce the blood flow and therefore the swelling. With leg injuries it is beneficial to reduce swelling further by elevating the injury, raising your leg, or propping your foot up on cushions. While putting something cold on the muscle may help, it is best to avoid using any heat packs, hot water bottles or warm baths as this will not help. It is ill-advised to treat a sprain by massaging the muscle as this could aggravate the area and cause an increased pain level. Unfortunately, it may take months for a strain or sprain to recover and return to normal but as your condition improves it is important to begin increasing your level of activity and gently and gradually reintroducing movement and putting weight back on to the knee as this will help prevent the knee joint from becoming too stiff through lack of use and encourage healing. Remember that while it may not always be possible to avoid muscle injuries, you can prevent them from happening by ensuring you always warm up by stretching before participating in any exercise or sports.
Mild or moderate sprains and strains that affect the muscles and soft tissue in your legs, while painful or uncomfortable, are unlikely to be a sign of serious illness or injury and should respond to treatments you can perform at home, such as rest, ice packs, compression support bandaging, pain relief medication and elevation. If you are worried about your joint pain, or you have noticed significant swelling, redness, sensitivity around the joint or currently have a fever you should book a consultation with a doctor to discuss the underlying cause of your discomfort. However, if you have recently been involved in an accident or suffered an injury because of exercise or playing sports, and the pain you are experiencing is intense or accompanied by any of the symptoms listed below then you may be suffering from a more serious injury, requiring urgent care, and should seek immediate medical attention.
- If the affected area appears deformed
- If you heard a crack or loud popping noise that led to the onset of pain
- If you are unable to put any weight on it
- You are experiencing intense or severe pain
- If the experience excessive swelling and the skin appears discoloured
- Adult Still's disease
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Avascular necrosis (death of bone tissue due to limited blood flow)
- Bone cancer
- Broken bone
- Bursitis (joint inflammation)
- Complex regional pain syndrome (chronic pain due to a dysfunctional nervous system)
- Gonococcal arthritis
- Gout (arthritis related to excess uric acid)
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (formerly known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis)
- Lyme disease
- Osteoarthritis (disease causing the breakdown of joints)
- Osteomyelitis (a bone infection)
- Paget's disease of bone
- Polymyalgia rheumatica
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Reactive arthritis
- Rheumatic fever
- Rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory joint disease)
- Sarcoidosis (collections of inflammatory cells in the body)
- Septic arthritis