Ouch! Isn’t it such a let-down when something simple and reliable (like a knee or elbow) suddenly hurts, or stops working? If it hasn’t happened to you yet, you’re lucky! Here are the most common reasons for joint pain and what you can do about it:
- Sports injuries. Turns, sprains and torn ligaments: in fast-moving sports, all of these injuries come with the territory. The joints most at risk for sport injuries are ankle, knee, elbow and shoulder joints.
- Gout – this happens when the level of uric acid in your blood is too high. Uric acid crystallises out into your joints, causing pain and swelling. Gout mostly affects the joint in your big toe, but it can affect fingers, elbow, wrist, knee or ankle.
- Bursitis. Overuse can cause the small fluid-filled sacs cushioning your joints to become inflamed. The most common area for bursitis is the shoulder, but it can affect other joints.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. The causes of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but a lot of research is being done to figure it out. It’s believed that a tendency to develop rheumatoid arthritis may be genetically inherited. One thing that is usually true of rheumatoid arthritis: it affects the joints on both sides of the body at once.
- Fibromyalgia. The causes for this chronic (ongoing) pain syndrome are unknown. With fibromyalgia you’ll have aching and burning in the joints as one of the symptoms.
- Osteoarthritis. This is the most common form of arthritis, and it happens when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. Osteoarthritis most commonly affects the joints in the hips, knees and fingers.
- Infectious diseases. Some infectious disease like flu, chickenpox, German measles (rubella), and chickenpox – among others – can have joint pain as a symptom.
How do I take the pain away?
If you’ve sprained your ankle or have a mild sport injury, use the RICE method:
- Rest the joint
- Ice the swelling
- Compression – wrap the joint in a compression bandage
- Elevation – lift the joint
If you don’t see or feel some improvement in about the next 2 days, call the doctor to make sure that there isn’t any deeper damage or cause.