Joint Pain Doctor
Which Type of Health Care Provider To See – If you’re having joint symptoms that cause concern, an appointment with a primary care practitioner is a good place to start. But sometimes arthritis is difficult to diagnose. You might need to see a specialist.
- 1 What medical doctor specializes in issues of the joints?
- 2 Can joint pain be fixed?
- 3 Why do my joints hurt all of a sudden?
- 4 Why do I have random joint pain?
- 5 Is joint pain something to worry about?
- 6 How do you know when joint pain is serious?
- 7 What disease is it when your joints hurt?
Do I need to see a doctor for joint pain?
Non-urgent advice: See a GP if: –
joint pain is stopping you doing normal activities or affecting your sleepthe pain is getting worse or keeps coming backthe pain has not improved after treating it at home for 2 weeksyour joints are stiff for more than 30 minutes after waking up
What medical doctor specializes in issues of the joints?
What is the difference between a rheumatologist vs. an orthopaedist? – Orthopaedists and rheumatologists specialize in conditions affecting the joints, bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons. They treat many of the same conditions, including joint pain and tendinitis,
But there are a few differences between these medical specialties. Rheumatologists consider every organ system when looking for the cause of your symptoms. An orthopaedist focuses on injuries, congenital disease and wear and tear (degenerative conditions). Also, orthopaedists perform surgery, but rheumatologists do not.
While both rheumatologists and orthopaedists help diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions, rheumatologists have specialized training in musculoskeletal conditions of an inflammatory and autoimmune etiology.
Can joint pain be fixed?
How is joint pain treated? – Although there may not be a cure for the pain, it can be managed to bring the patient relief. Sometimes the pain may go away by taking over-the-counter medication, or by performing simple daily exercises. Other times, the pain may be signaling problems that can only be corrected with prescription medication or surgery.
Simple at-home treatments, such as applying a heating pad or ice on the affected area, may be recommended for short periods, several times a day. Soaking in a warm bathtub may also offer relief. Exercise can help get back strength and function. Walking, swimming, or other low-impact aerobic exercise is best. Those who participate in strenuous workouts or sports activities may need to scale it back or begin a low-impact workout routine. Gentle stretching exercises will also help. Check with the doctor before beginning or continuing any exercise program. Weight loss may also be suggested, if needed, to lessen strain on joints. Acetaminophen, (Tylenol®) or anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen), may help ease the pain. Both of these medicines are available over the counter, but stronger doses may need a doctor’s prescription. If you have a history of stomach ulcers, kidney disease, or liver disease, check with your physician to see if this is a good option for you. Topical treatments, such as ointments or gels that can be rubbed into the skin over the affected joint area, may also help ease pain. Some of these may be found over the counter, or the doctor may write a prescription. Dietary supplements, like glucosamine, may help relieve pain. Ask the doctor before taking any over-the-counter supplements.
If those medications or treatments do not ease the pain, the doctor may prescribe:
Supportive aids, such as a brace, cane, or orthotic device in the shoe, can help support the joint to allow ease of movement. The doctor, physical or occupational therapist, or social worker will be able to assist with the right option(s) available. Physical or Occupational Therapy, along with a balanced fitness program, may gradually help ease pain and improve flexibility. Antidepressants may be prescribed to help improve sleep for a patient suffering from joint pain. Steroids, often given by injection into the joint, provide short-term relief of pain and swelling. Painkilling drugs that help ease pain.
Please note that medicine, even those available over the counter, affects people differently. What helps one person may not work for another. Be sure to follow the doctor’s directions carefully when taking any medicine, and tell him or her if you have any side effects.
Why do my joints hurt all of a sudden?
There are several possible causes of sudden joint pain, such as gout, infections, and tendinitis. Other possible causes are injuries, such as fractures, dislocations, sprains, and strains. Sudden joint pain can be uncomfortable and affect a person’s ability to carry out daily tasks.
- If a person experiences sudden joint pain, it may be a sign that they have an injury or developed a chronic condition.
- In this article, we explain what a joint is and outline some possible causes of sudden joint pain.
- A joint is a point in the body where two bones meet.
- Most of the body’s joints are mobile, which means they allow the bones to move.
There are three types of joints in the body:
Fibrous: These joints are fixed and are often immovable. These include the joints between the:
plates in the skullteethbones in the lower part of the arms and the legs
Cartilaginous: These are a type of joint where only cartilage holds the bones together. These are slightly mobile joints that allow a small amount of movement. One example of this type of joint is the joint between the right and left pubic bones. Synovial: These joints allow a lot of movement and are the main functional joints of the body that allow the limbs and other body parts to move.
A number of medical conditions or other factors may cause a person to experience sudden pain in any of the joints. Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis, Gout’s symptoms appear in flares that begin suddenly and can last for days or weeks. Common symptoms of gout affecting the joints include:
intense pain, which usually affects one joint at a timeswellingrednessjoints that are hot to touch
Males are three times more likely than females to develop gout. Gout develops in some people with high uric acid levels in their bodies. Uric acid builds up when a person’s body breaks down purines. Purines are in some human cells and many foods. Foods that contain purines include:
red meat organ meatssome seafood
When uric acid builds up in a person’s body, it can cause needle-like crystals to form. These crystals can lodge in joints, which causes severe pain and swelling. Septic arthritis is the name for joint infection. Bacterial infections that spread through the bloodstream often cause septic arthritis. However, other infection types that can cause septic arthritis include :
fungal mycobacterial viral other pathogens
These infections may begin in a distant part of the body, such as the skin or the gastrointestinal tract. Septic arthritis may affect the joint in many ways, such as:
painsudden swellingjoints that are warm to touchlimited range of motion around the affected joint
A person may also experience systemic symptoms from the infection affecting other body parts. These symptoms include:
fever increased heart rate irritability decreased appetite
Tendinitis causes tenderness and pain in areas around the joint, such as in:
It may occur suddenly, causing sudden joint pain. Tendinitis may last for days or a longer period. Tendinitis pain becomes worse with movement. It usually improves after rest or treatment. Tendinitis is most common in people over the age of 40 and athletes. Several factors can cause tendinitis, including:
poor postureinfectionsstress on tendons from poorly positioned joints or bonessome types of arthritis, including:
gout rheumatoid arthritis osteoarthritis
diabetes side effects from some medications, such as fluoroquinolone antibiotics and, but this is very rare
A person can injure their joints in many ways. Below are some injuries that can cause sudden joint pain:
Sprain: A sprain occurs when a person damages a ligament in their body. Ligaments are bands of connective tissue that join the ends of two bones, commonly in and around joints. A person may experience a strain due to trauma from a fall or blow that knocks a joint out of position. Strain: A strain occurs when a person twists, pulls, or tears a muscle or a tendon. Tendons are tissues that connect muscles to bone. Strains most commonly occur in muscles or tendons. Fracture: A fracture is a break in a bone. Fractures can occur from a quick injury or repeated stress over time. If a person fractures a bone that makes up part of a joint, it may cause them to experience sudden joint pain. Dislocation: A dislocation occurs when there is a complete separation of the two bones that form a joint.
Sudden joint pain may also indicate a person is developing a chronic condition. These may include:
Arthritis: “Arthritis” is an umbrella term for over 100 conditions, It can cause inflammation of the joints, which can cause chronic joint pain. Fibromyalgia: This is a chronic condition that causes body-wide pain and fatigue. Fibromyalgia can cause chronic pain in the joints, muscles, and the body’s soft tissues. Still’s disease: This is a rare inflammatory disorder that causes inflammation. Still’s disease can affect a person’s joints, causing joint pain. Hypothyroidism: This is the medical term for an underactive thyroid, It occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. Bone cancer: This is a form of cancer that develops when the cells in the bone begin to grow out of control. Bone cancer can affect any bone, including the bones in a person’s joints. Bursitis: This is the term for the inflammation of the bursa, Bursa are fluid-filled sacs that act as a cushion between bones and muscle, skin, or tendons.
If someone experiences sudden joint pain, they may wish to speak with a doctor. A doctor may be able to diagnose the cause of the pain and begin treating the cause. Early treatment is important if a person is experiencing joint pain from a chronic condition.
recurrent ankle instabilityarthritic progressionlong-term disability
Meanwhile, someone who has experienced a fractured joint or a dislocation may also require immediate medical attention to help reduce pain and prevent long-term damage. Finally, a medical professional must diagnose a person’s septic arthritis early to prevent complications.
What is the reason behind joint pain?
Joint pain can be caused by many types of injuries or conditions. It may be linked to arthritis, bursitis, and muscle pain. No matter what causes it, joint pain can be very bothersome.
Why do I have random joint pain?
Topic Resources Pain that involves more than just one joint is called polyarticular joint pain. A joint may simply be painful (arthralgia) or may also be inflamed (arthritis). Pain that seems to be coming from joints can sometimes be coming from structures outside the joints, such as ligaments, tendons, or muscles (see Introduction to the Biology of the Musculoskeletal System Introduction to the Biology of the Musculoskeletal System The musculoskeletal system provides form, stability, and movement to the human body.
It consists of the body’s bones (which make up the skeleton), muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage. read more ). Examples of such disorders are bursitis Bursitis Bursitis is painful inflammation of a bursa (a flat, fluid-filled sac that provides cushioning where skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments rub over bones).
Movement is usually painful, and bursae. read more and tendinitis Tendinitis and Tenosynovitis Tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon. Tenosynovitis is tendinitis accompanied by inflammation of the protective covering around the tendon (tendon sheath). The cause is not always known. Tendons. read more,
True joint pain (arthralgia) may or not be accompanied by joint inflammation (arthritis). The most common symptom of joint inflammation is pain. Inflamed joints may also be warm and swollen, and less often the overlying skin may be red. Arthritis may involve only joints of the limbs or also joints of the central part of the skeleton, such as the spine or pelvis.
Pain may occur only when a joint is moved or may be present at rest. Other symptoms, such as rash, fever, eye pain, or mouth sores, may be present depending on the cause of the joint pain. In most cases, the cause of pain originating inside multiple joints is arthritis.
How many and which joints they usually involve Whether the central part of the skeleton, such as the spine or pelvis, is typically involved Whether arthritis is sudden (acute) or longstanding (chronic)
Acute arthritis affecting multiple joints is most often due to Less common causes of acute arthritis in multiple joints include Lyme disease Lyme Disease Lyme disease is a tick-transmitted infection caused by Borrelia species, primarily by Borrelia burgdorferi and sometimes by Borrelia mayonii in the United States. These. read more and gout Gout Gout is a disorder in which deposits of uric acid crystals accumulate in the joints because of high blood levels of uric acid (hyperuricemia). The accumulations of crystals cause flares (attacks). read more (disorders that also may affect only one joint), gonorrhea Gonorrhea Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which infect the lining of the urethra, cervix, rectum, or throat, or the membranes that cover. read more and streptococcal bacterial infections Streptococcal Infections Streptococcal infections are caused by any one of several species of Streptococcus, These gram-positive, sphere-shaped (coccal) bacteria (see figure ) cause many disorders, including. read more, and reactive arthritis Reactive Arthritis Reactive arthritis (previously called Reiter syndrome) is a spondyloarthritis causing inflammation of the joints and tendon attachments at the joints, often related to an infection. (arthritis that develops after an infection of the digestive or urinary tract). Chronic arthritis affecting multiple joints is most often due to
Inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis in which joints, usually including those of the hands and feet, are inflamed, resulting in swelling, pain, and often destruction of joints. read more, psoriatic arthritis Psoriatic Arthritis Psoriatic arthritis is a spondyloarthritis and a form of joint inflammation that occurs in some people who have psoriasis of the skin or nails. Joint inflammation can develop in people who have. read more, or systemic lupus erythematosus Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) Systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory connective tissue disorder that can involve joints, kidneys, skin, mucous membranes, and blood vessel walls. Problems in the. read more (in adults)
Some chronic inflammatory disorders can affect the spine as well as the limb joints (called the peripheral joints). Some affect certain parts of the spine more frequently. For example, ankylosing spondylitis more commonly affects the lower (lumbar) part of the spine, whereas rheumatoid arthritis more typically affects the upper (cervical) part of the spine in the neck.
The most common disorders outside the joints that cause pain around the joints are Bursitis and tendinitis often result from injury, usually affecting only one joint. However, certain disorders cause bursitis or tendinitis in many joints. In evaluating joint pain, doctors first try to decide whether joint pain is caused by a disorder of the joints or a serious bodywide (systemic) illness.
Serious bodywide disorders may need specific immediate treatment. The following information can help people decide when to see a doctor and know what to expect during the evaluation. In people with pain in more than one joint, symptoms that should prompt rapid evaluation include
Joint swelling, warmth, and redness New skin rashes, spots, purple blotches, or nail pitting Sores in the mouth or nose or on the genitals Chest pain, shortness of breath, or new or severe cough Abdominal pain Fever, sweats, weight loss, or chills Eye redness or pain
People with warning signs should see a doctor right away. People without warning signs should call a doctor. The doctor decides how quickly they need to be seen based on the severity and location of pain, whether joints are swollen, whether the cause has been diagnosed previously, and other factors.
Typically, a delay of several days or so is not harmful for people without warning signs. Doctors first ask questions about the person’s symptoms and medical history. Then they do a physical examination. What doctors find during the history and physical examination often suggests a cause for joint pain and guides the tests that may need to be done (see table ).
Doctors ask about pain severity, onset (sudden or gradual), how symptoms vary over time, and what increases or decreases pain (for example, rest or movement or time of day when the symptoms worsen or abate). They ask about joint stiffness and swelling, previously diagnosed joint disorders, and risk of exposure to sexually transmitted infections and Lyme disease.
- Doctors then do a complete physical examination.
- They check all joints (including those of the spine) for swelling, redness, warmth, tenderness, and noises that are made when the joints are moved (called crepitus).
- The joints are moved through their full range of motion, first by the person without assistance (called active range of motion) and then by the doctor (called passive range of motion).
This examination helps determine which structure is causing the pain and if inflammation is present. They also check the eyes, mouth, nose, and genital area for sores or other signs of inflammation. The skin is examined for rashes. Lymph nodes are felt and the lungs and heart examined.
- Doctors usually test function of the nervous system so that they can detect disorders of the muscles or nerves.
- Some findings give helpful clues as to the cause.
- For example, if the tenderness is around the joint but not over the joint, bursitis or tendinitis is likely the cause.
- If tenderness is present in many areas besides the joints, fibromyalgia is possible.
If the spine is tender as well as the joints, possible causes include osteoarthritis, reactive arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis. Findings in the hand can help doctors differentiate between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, two particularly common types of arthritis. The following tests are the most important overall:
Tests of joint fluid Blood tests for autoantibodies Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein
The ESR is a test that measures the rate at which red blood cells settle to the bottom of a test tube containing a blood sample. Blood that settles quickly typically means that bodywide (systemic) inflammation is likely, but many factors can affect the ESR test including age and anemia, so the test is sometimes inaccurate.
To help determine whether bodywide inflammation is present, doctors sometimes do another blood test called C-reactive protein (a protein that circulates in the blood and dramatically increases in level when there is inflammation). If a particular disorder is suspected, other tests may be required (see table ).
The underlying disorder is treated. For example, people with an autoimmune disorder (such as systemic lupus erythematosus) may need a drug that suppresses the immune system. People with a gonorrhea infection in the joint need antibiotics.
Acute pain in multiple joints is most often due to inflammation, gout, or the beginning or flare up of a chronic joint disorder. Chronic pain in multiple joints is usually due to osteoarthritis or an inflammatory disorder (such as rheumatoid arthritis) or, in children, juvenile idiopathic arthritis. When significant fluid accumulates inside of a joint, a fluid sample usually must be withdrawn and tested. Lifelong physical activity helps maintain range of motion in people with chronic arthritis.
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Is joint pain something to worry about?
Joint pain is rarely an emergency. Mild joint pain often can be cared for at home. Make an appointment with your health care provider if you have joint pain and: Swelling.
Why do my joints hurt in my 20s?
Symptoms of Early-Onset Arthritis – There are many causes and symptoms of arthritis and joint pain among young adults. Some causes include being overweight, infections, joint injuries or working specific jobs that require lots of bending or squatting.
Joint painLower back pain (SI joint pain)FatigueTrouble walkingJoints feel “off”Stiffness in the morningTrouble lifting your armsStiffness after sittingGrating sounds from jointsPain when sittingPain from a previous injuryPain on one sideMuscle swelling
How do you know when joint pain is serious?
See a health care provider right away if an injury causes joint pain and: The joint looks out of shape. You can’t use the joint. The pain is severe.
What disease has severe joint pain?
Overview – Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes cartilage — the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint — to break down.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the joints, beginning with the lining of joints.
- Uric acid crystals, which form when there’s too much uric acid in your blood, can cause gout.
- Infections or underlying disease, such as psoriasis or lupus, can cause other types of arthritis.
Treatments vary depending on the type of arthritis. The main goals of arthritis treatments are to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.
What disease is it when your joints hurt?
Causes – Joint pain can be caused by many types of injuries or conditions. It may be linked to arthritis, bursitis, and muscle pain, No matter what causes it, joint pain can be very bothersome. Some things that can cause joint pain are:
Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus Bursitis Chondromalacia patellae Crystals in the joint – gout (especially found in the big toe) and CPPD arthritis (pseudogout)Infections caused by a virusInjury, such as a fracture Osteoarthritis Osteomyelitis (bone infection) Septic arthritis (joint infection) Tendinitis Unusual exertion or overuse, including strains or sprains
Signs of joint inflammation include:
Swelling WarmthTendernessRednessPain with movement
What is the number one cause of joint pain?
If your joints hurt, you probably want to know why and what can be done to alleviate your pain. Here are the seven most common causes of joint pain and how they are treated.1. Osteoarthritis Sometimes called wear-and-tear arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common culprit in joint pain.
- It occurs when the lining of the joints, called cartilage, is worn down.
- Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint, it most commonly affects the knees, hands and hips.
- The primary risk factors for osteoarthritis are obesity, a traumatic injury or a lack of physical activity.
- To feel better, it helps to lose weight and to exercise, and physical therapy can make a big difference.
Over-the-counter pain medication and anti-inflammatory topical gels and creams can help, as can injections of either the steroid cortisone or platelet-rich plasma (PRP). In the knee, hyaluronic acid injections are also an option. Using PRP, doctors can extract platelets from the patient’s blood and then inject the platelets into the damaged joint or tendons to bring relief.2.
- Tendon Injuries The second most common cause of joint pain is injury to the tendons, which can range from inflammation and swelling to a partial or full tear.
- Tendons are the extension of muscles that attach on a bone, and these often attach around joints.
- This means you may feel like the pain is in your joint, but it’s really a muscle.
For college and professional athletes, a torn tendon may be treated with surgery. For most people, treatment may involve some combination of over-the-counter pain medication, rest, cortisone injections, PRP or physical therapy. Physical therapy can help strengthen the other muscles around the injured muscle, so it doesn’t have to work as hard.3.
Ligament Injuries Injured ligaments can cause joint pain, particularly around the knees and ankles. Ligaments are pieces of tissue that attach bones to each other. Trauma, such as a forceful hit, is the primary cause of an injured ligament. Just like the tendon, you can partially or fully tear your ligaments.
Some ligaments can heal on their own, while others require you to wear a brace. Surgery is necessary to repair large tears.4. Gout A common, painful form of arthritis, gout causes a chemical called uric acid to build up in the blood. This acid then leaks into the joints and makes crystals in the body’s joints, fluids and tissues.
The crystals can be very painful and cause lots of swelling, pain and redness in the joints, such as your big toe, hand, wrist or knee. People with gout should avoid alcohol, red meat and shellfish in their diets, because these can make gout worse. If diet modification does not ease your pain, your healthcare provider may prescribe medication to lower the amount of uric acid in your blood.5.
Injured Meniscus An injury to the meniscus, which is the cartilage in your knee that cushions and stabilizes the knee joint, is a common cause of knee pain. Although the meniscus is usually injured while playing sports, arthritis in the knee can also cause painful tears in the meniscus.
- During some activities—especially contact sports—your knee can twist and tear the cartilage that provides cushioning between your thigh bone and shinbone.
- Surgery is sometimes needed, but meniscus injuries also can be treated with physical therapy or cortisone or hyaluronic acid injections.6.
- Autoimmune Diseases Many autoimmune diseases—lupus and rheumatoid arthritis in particular—cause joint pain.
People are born with a tendency to develop these conditions, which may be triggered by a viral infection. More common in women in their 20s and 30s than in men, these autoimmune disorders usually cause pain in small joints, like fingers, wrists and toes.
Being active can help with the stiffness in the joints caused by lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, but sometimes medication is needed to treat flare-ups.7. Frozen Shoulder Also known as adhesive capsulitis, frozen shoulder causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder. There is a capsule that connects the two bones of the shoulder and allows the ball and the socket joint to move.
This capsule can become inflamed, causing a lot of pain. Eventually, you’ll start to notice you just can’t move your shoulder. A frozen shoulder will usually resolve on its own over time, but a steroid injection can help reduce inflammation. Sometimes, doctors use hydrodilatation, the injection of a large amount of sterile fluid to expand the shoulder joint capsule, which helps the motion in the shoulder come back more quickly.