My joints are causing me pain. When should I see a doctor?

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Courtesy of DHR Health

By: Jose R. Carreras, MD
DHR Health Orthopedic Institute

form the connection between bones and provide support to help you move. Any damage from disease or injury can restrict your movement and cause pain. Joint pain is very common, especially with age or when caused from by an injury or an autoimmune disease. The most common complaint is knee pain; however, joint pain can affect your shoulders, hips, ankles, hands and feet.

Some joint injuries can cause pain, decrease range of motion, and increase stiffness. However, the pain will usually improve, with time, as it heals. There are joint pains that are acquired as we age. Some may experience the pain at an early age, while others are effected at a later age. Another common cause of joint pain is arthritis. If you have a type of arthritis that can cause permanent joint damage, getting treatment quickly can help joint function and prevent other serious health problems.

Arthritis can begin at a young age, such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune diseases. The most common symptoms of arthritis are swelling, extremity pain in the legs or other joints. It can be difficult to distinguish if the cause of your pain is arthritis or not because most people aren’t aware of the symptoms. The easiest way to differentiate your pain is to ask yourself if you have had any injury to the joint; if you haven’t, there may be a chance that you are developing arthritis.

If you are experiencing pain without an injury, a physician will be able to differentiate whether your joint pain is caused by arthritis, soft tissue, tendons, or ligaments around joints. The pain can be part of soft tissue-arthritis. Swollen ligaments can cause pain with motion. Most of us will experience some joint pain after the age of 40, usually starting with joint stiffness. The joint stiffness can get better with motion and exercise; however, it may be a concern if it continues to get worse when moving the joint and if the movement is causing pain. .

There are many factors when it comes to joint pain and its cause due to proximity of ligaments and tendons. It is important to take action, when needed. You might need to seek medical attention if you have joint pain that started after an injury, your joint pain is so severe it is limiting function or your daily activities, you have moderate to advanced arthritis, your hip or knee pain has progressively gotten worse, or if your current treatment for joint pain isn’t working. There are many treatment options available.

If you are experiencing joint pain and would like to schedule a consultation with one of our expert physicians, please call DHR Health Orthopedic Institute at (956) 362-6980.