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Joint pain

Joint pain can be due to wear-and-tear, injuries, infections or as a result of medical conditions.

Joint pain is common, and can be shot-term (acute) or long-term (chronic). It can also range from discomfort to intense pain.

It becomes more likely with age, and more than one joint may be affected.

Commonly affected joints are:

Health conditions causing joint pain include:

Diagnosis of joint pain

A doctor will diagnose joint pain based on symptoms, the person’s medical history and a discussion about possible causes, such as an accident.

A physical examination will usually be carried out and further tests may be arranged, such as X-rays to help assess the problem.

Tests may also be done to diagnose any underlying medical condition causing the joint pain.

Treating joint pain

Treatment may involve painkillers or anti-inflammatory treatments to reduce any swelling, but this will depend on the cause of the joint pain and individual circumstances.

In some cases, medication such as steroids may be injected directly into the joint.

Physiotherapy and a programme of exercises may be recommended, depending on the type of joint pain.

Home care for joint pain

Short-term joint pain may be helped with PRICE therapy:

  • Protection
  • Resting the joint
  • Ice packs wrapped in cloth applied to the joint as advised
  • Compression of the joint with an elastic compression bandage
  • Elevation of the joint above the level of your heart

Seek medical advice if the joint pain worsens or if you have concerns.

Avoiding joint pain

Joint pain cannot always be avoided, but taking precautions at work, when playing sport or doing gardening and housework to protect the joints can help.

Good footwear, warming up before exercise and doing flexibility and strengthening exercises can help protect the joints.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on September 06, 2016

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