Joint pain is a common condition among adults which most commonly affects the knee and hip joints. Joint pain can interfere with a person’s mobility, because it often makes normal movement and functioning of the joint difficult or impossible. Inflammation of a joint in general is called arthritis. Arthritis is not one disease, but a wide variety of conditions with different causes that can cause joint pain and inflammation. Joint pain can also be caused by various types of acute injuries affecting the joints. Sometimes, an injured joint can also develop chronic inflammation and pain over time.
Common types of joint injuries include sprains of the ligaments attached to a joint and strains of muscles and tendons surrounding a joint. These injuries, which can range from mild to severe, can impair the movement of a joint and cause pain. Mild strains and sprains can heal by themselves with proper rest and care, but severe sprains and muscle tears may require medical treatments, such as surgery. Joint dislocations are another type of injury that can cause joint pain and immobility. Joints that have been dislocated are more prone to dislocations in the future because they are more unstable. Acute joint injuries may lead to chronic joint pain in some cases, especially if the injury is not allowed to heal properly before the activity that is damaging the joint is resumed.
The most common variety of arthritis, called osteoarthritis, is caused by mechanical degeneration of a joint over time. As the cartilage protecting the joint wears down, the joint begins to become inflamed and painful. The incidence of osteoarthritis increases as people get older. Arthritis can also be caused by systemic disease, as is the case with rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the immune system producing antibodies that attack the joint tissue. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that, if untreated, can also damage other parts of the body, such as the heart and lungs. Other autoimmune conditions, such as lupus and scleroderma, can cause arthritis as a symptom. Gout is another systemic disease that can cause arthritis. People with gout experience an abnormal buildup of a chemical called uric acid in their body, which tends to crystallize within specific joints and cause pain and inflammation. Arthritis can also be caused by infections of the joint tissue by a bacterium or virus in some cases.
Non-Surgical Orthopaedics, P.C. specializes in treating joint pain. Call 770-421-1420 for more information or to schedule an appointment.