The weather is warming up, and we’re finally getting back outside to enjoy all of the outdoor activities that spring brings: bike rides, baseball, gardening, and long walks, just to name a few. But for many, the spring in their step has given way to creaky, achy joints.
If you find yourself answering yes to the following questions, then it’s time to talk to an orthopedic specialist about your joint pain:
What is joint pain?
Joint pain is exactly what it sounds like: discomfort around or emanating from any joint in the body. In other words, any place where two bones meet: wrists, elbows, hips, knees, etc.
The problem has become widespread, with at least 30 percent of American adults reporting having some discomfort in at least one of their joints.
What are the symptoms of joint pain?
Symptoms of joint pain include:
Dr. Richard W. Forster, medical director at Kettering Joint Center, part of Kettering Health Network, said the biggest indicator that it’s time to see a specialist for your joint pain is when you experience “progressive pain that does not resolve with routine treatment (i.e. rest, ice, medication) and persists for more than six weeks.”
What is the final straw that actually nudges people to come and see him? “A realization that normal activities of daily living are progressively limited due to joint pain,” explained Dr. Forster.
What causes joint pain?
Chronic joint pain is most likely caused by arthritis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as the US population ages, the number of adults with arthritis is expected to increase to 67 million by 2030.
Arthritis is a catch-all term that means inflammation of the joints. However, it is not a simple diagnosis, due to the fact that there are many different kinds of arthritis. In addition, many people have various conditions that sometimes can aggravate arthritis. That’s why it is important to get the correct diagnosis from a physician, in order to reach the origin of the problem and the correct treatment.
Most common types of arthritis
One of the most common types of arthritis is osteoarthritis.
“Joint pain becomes more common as we age,” said Dr. Forster. “This is because joints are exposed to certain stresses such as injury, overuse, excessive pressures, misalignment. There also are intrinsic factors in cartilage that we don’t fully understand.”
Traumatic arthritis or arthritis that follows an injury is also quite common. A knee or hip fracture or soft tissue injury can damage articular cartilage over time.
Treatment options for joint pain
Taking a timeout from your life due to joint pain doesn’t have to be a foregone conclusion. Many options are available to treat joint pain including non-invasive procedures, outpatient surgery, and joint replacement.