Facts on Joint Pain
- Joint pain can be caused by injury or disease of the joint or adjacent tissues.
- A joint is the area at which two bone ends meet to provide motion to a body part. A typical joint is composed of bones that are separated by cartilage that serves as cushioning pad for the adjacent bones.
- Ligaments attach bone to bone around the joint.
- Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that provide a gliding surface for adjacent tendons.
- Tendons attach muscle to bone around the joint.
- Injury or disease to any of the structures of the joint can lead to pain in the joint.
- Joint pain is also referred to as arthralgia.
What Causes Joint Pain?
Joint pain can be caused by injury or disease affecting any of the ligaments, bursae, or tendons surrounding the joint. Injury or disease can also affect the ligaments, cartilage, and bones within the joint, leading to a painful joint. Pain is also a feature of joint inflammation (arthritis) and infection and can be a feature of rare tumors of the joint.
What Are the Symptoms of Joint Pain?
Joint pain can be aggravated by motion, pressure, or weight-bearing resistance with activity. Joint pain can be associated with local warmth, swelling, and tenderness.
When Should I Call the Doctor about Joint Pain?
If you have pain in the joint that persists after one week, it should be evaluated by a health-care practitioner. Moreover, severe pain in the joint should be medically evaluated as soon as possible.
What Are the Exams and Tests for Joint Pain?
The health-care professional will take a history of your symptoms leading up to and associated with your joint pain. What activity(ies), if any, that you were doing when your joint pain began should be discussed. Aggravating and relieving conditions that affect the degree of your pain will also be important to discuss. After an examination, further testing might be necessary, including blood tests and X-rays or other imaging studies. Occasionally, MRI scanning is helpful if the problem requires further definition.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/18/2016
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