Joint pain is extremely common. The most often affected joints are the knee and shoulder, followed by hip; however joint pain can affect any joint in the body from your ankles and feet to your shoulders, elbows, and hands. Painful joints become increasingly more common as people age.
Joint pain can range from mild, causing slight soreness whenever you move the joint, to debilitating, making it impossible to use that joint. Joint pain may go away after a few weeks or may linger on, or come and go. Even short-term pain and joint swelling can affect your quality of life.
There are many things that can cause joint pain including arthritis, osteoarthritis, bursitis as well as sprains and strains. Simple overuse of a joint can also cause pain. More serious underlying conditions such as lupus, bone or other infections, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, and cancer can also cause joint pain which is why proper diagnosis is extremely important in order to identify the correct treatment path.
Because there are so many different variables associated with joint pain, your doctor will gather information to build your medical history in order to help identify possible causes of your joint pain. They will also discuss your symptoms, identify the location of pain, onset of pain, rule out injury or pre-existing conditions, etc. They will perform an examination and may also order X-rays, diagnostic ultrasound, CT scans, or MRI in order to rule out underlying conditions.
The treatment for joint pain will vary and is dependent on the cause of the pain. Mild joint pain from non-serious causes can be treated conservatively and may include rest, hot or cold applications, topical pain creams, physical therapy, or possible pain medications. Our experts at SCU Health System will evaluate each patient on an individual basis to determine which treatment will be the least invasive and provide the most benefit. Our treatments at SCU Health include: