What is joint pain?
Joints are complex structures that connect two bones together and allow for their motion. Every move we make depends on some joint performing properly. The structure of each joint contains cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and synovial fluid.
The biggest joints in your body are:
Joint pain or discomfort is one of the most common chief complaints seen in hospitals, and even though this condition does not require emergency care in most cases, there are some cases where people have to be admitted to the hospital to receive proper management.
What is the difference between arthralgia and arthritis?
Arthralgia is the term used in medicine to describe joint pain or discomfort; in other words, this term is used to describe a symptom regardless of its etiology (cause).
For example, if you fall and injure your knee, the physician will use the term arthralgia to describe that pain.
On the other hand, we have arthritis, which is used to describe an active state of inflammation inside the joint; the most famous cause of arthritis in medicine is rheumatoid arthritis.
Knee pain is the most common type of joint pain; this is partially due to the complexity of the knee joint and the number of moving parts found in the joint capsule; as a result, we are more prone to injuries, especially as we age.
Knee pain occurs when pro-inflammatory substances are released into the synovial fluid, which stimulates the nerve endings found inside the knee capsule.
These compounds will trigger the cardinal symptoms of inflammation, which are:
Tumor: edema (swelling), bruising.
Causes of knee pain
When it comes to knee pain, there is a long list of possible diagnoses; this is due to the numerous parts that can be injured.
Oftentimes, your physician won’t be able to make a definitive diagnosis by solely performing a physical exam, and further imaging tests (e.g. ultrasound, MRI) might be ordered.
Nevertheless, here is a shortlist of potential diagnoses of knee pain:
Note that each of these conditions has a particular history and circumstances of occurrence. For instance, a patella (kneecap) fracture must involve a history of trauma to the knee.
Osteoarthritis is often seen in older people with risk factors such as obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.
Septic arthritis is associated with fever and signs of infection, and gout is chronic and people often report having previous joint pain at multiple articulations.
Treatment of knee pain
Due to the diversity of knee pain causes, the treatment options are also varied.
Most of the conditions above are not life-threatening and people would receive pain killers such as acetaminophen until the exact cause of the pain is identified and treated adequately.
However, one condition on that list has to be treated promptly as it could lead to severe complications and even death; that condition is septic arthritis.
Your knees can gradually break down after years of use. They also can be easily injured which can result in pain, swelling, stiffness, and can prevent you from doing many of your daily activities. Living with this painful condition can be a challenge and it can be very frustrating if not doing the things you like to do.
Joint pain is one of the most common causes of visits to the hospital with a high prevalence and incidence, especially in the older age-groups.
For this reason, it is of the essence to stay active and avoid putting too much strain on your knee joint. Moreover, it is important to warm up before any physical activity, even if you think it is not intense enough, as stretching significantly reduces your risk of injury during exercise.
I do hope this article is of some help to you. You can find more helpful articles here
All the best for 2020.