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When to See a Specialist About Joint Pain

When to See a Specialist About Joint Pain

More than half of people over 65 experience some level of joint pain. Heavily used joints like the neck, shoulders, lower back, knees, and toes are the most likely areas of pain caused by extra pounds or injury. Knowing where pain may occur can be just as crucial as knowing why.

The specialists at the Orthopaedic Institute of Henderson provide a quick diagnosis and effective relief when you’re living with joint pain. We are dedicated to returning you to a normal and pain-free life as soon as possible. 

What’s causing my joint pain?

There are many potential causes of joint pain, and it manifests itself in various ways. Though the symptoms may be similar, your specialist can identify what condition is causing yours. Common causes of joint pain include:

Osteoarthritis 

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, impacting 27 million Americans. It can occur in any joint. This type of arthritis is often called wear-and-tear arthritis because it develops when using your joints over time or after an injury. It wears away the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in your joints, causing them to rub against each other. The area becomes swollen and painful.

Sometimes osteoarthritis results from an accident, ligament damage, or a congenital weakness or malformation of joints. Most wrist, hip, and knee pain are due to osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory condition in which your immune system attacks joint tissue lining. Along with joint pain, you may also notice swollen, tender, warm, or stiff joints. RA may also cause fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite.

Bursitis

Bursitis is also called bursa inflammation. Bursae are found between bones and tissue in places that are exposed to particularly high levels of stress, such as joints. They act as an organic insulating material cushioning joint pressure protecting the bones. Bursae consist of a cavity filled with synovial fluid. Inflammatory or mechanical irritation (for example, with sports injuries) can inflame the bursa and cause pain.

For example, inflamed bursae often cause elbow or knee pain. Shoulder pain is often due to inflamed or calcified bursae in the shoulder region.

Gout

Gout is the concentration of uric acid in the blood. When levels increase, the excess uric acid crystals are deposited in the joints, leading to swelling and joint pain. Your big toe joint is usually affected. But also knee and wrist pain, as well as pain in the finger joints or the upper ankle joint, can be the basis of an acute gout attack.

Septic arthritis

Septic arthritis is a painful infection that primarily infects the knee and hip joints. The bacteria either reach the joint via the blood or directly infect the joint. This can also occur with a penetrating injury that delivers germs directly to the joint, such as an animal bite or trauma. Indications of bacterial joint inflammation are intense knee or hip pain and fever. In addition, the joint area is swollen, reddened, and swollen.

Children and older adults are most likely to develop septic arthritis. Those with artificial joints are at risk as well. Knees are most frequently affected, but septic arthritis can also affect hips, shoulders, and other joints. Immediate treatment is crucial for preventing the infection from causing severe damage to the cartilage and bones inside the joint.

When to see a specialist

These are only a few of the many reasons you’re experiencing joint pain. Other reasons for painful joints include:

Whether your joint pain is chronic, dull, or acute, your Orthopaedic Institute of Henderson provider will uncover the root cause to create a treatment plan and find pain relief.

After a physical exam, medical history review, and any required imaging tests, a specialist recommends the best course of treatment for your specific needs. 

Joint pain treatment

Depending on the type and severity of your arthritis, you may benefit from:

While some joint pain is a chronic condition, injections can offer extended relief from inflammation without the need for oral pain medications. 

Contact the Orthopaedic Institute of Henderson today or book an appointment online with one of our board-certified physicians for comprehensive joint pain treatment.

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