When to See Your Doctor for Joint Pain

When to See Your Doctor for Joint Pain

Joint pain ranges from mild discomfort to agonizing pain that leaves you immobile. It can seriously impact quality of life, but it isn’t something anybody should just have to “live with” at any age. However, it can be difficult to know when it’s time to book an appointment with a doctor to get it addressed if it wasn’t caused by a recent injury. There are many causes of joint pain, so it’s important to make an appointment with your doctor for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Some of the signs you should be evaluated by a doctor include:

  • You can’t move the affected joint
  • It hurts to put weight on the joint
  • The joint is swollen, red, or warm
  • You’re in significant pain
  • The joint looks deformed

Joint Pain in Younger Adults

Those who experience joint pain in their younger years may wonder if their joint pain will go away on its own, especially if they have a simple sprain or twist that they hope will subside quickly. Athletes or very physically active younger adults should see a doctor if their joint pain persists despite rest and icing. It’s possible to sustain an overuse injury if you overdo your training or if you push yourself past your physical limits before you’re ready. These injuries are less obvious, but that doesn’t mean they’re less painful.

There are other causes of joint pain in younger adults, such as autoimmune diseases like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. These conditions occur when an overactive immune system attacks healthy tissue and the joints become inflamed. Although these conditions cannot be cured, treatment can help alleviate pain and swelling and reduce flareups.

Joint Pain in Older Adults

As we age, it’s common for adults to notice they aren’t as limber as they used to be in earlier years. This could be a result of osteoarthritis – a condition in which the cartilage that cushions the bones of a joint wears away and the bones begin to rub together. This causes pain, swelling, and immobility. The joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis are the weight-bearing joints such as the hips, knees, and ankles. If you have lasting joint pain or stiffness, you should see your doctor for treatment to keep your osteoarthritis from progressing, as the condition only becomes worse without treatment. Nonsurgical treatment like physical and/or occupational therapy can help, but your doctor may consider more aggressive therapies such as cortisone injections or joint replacement surgery if you fail to respond to nonsurgical measures.

Experiencing Joint Pain? Make an Appointment with Our Orthopedic Physicians.

No matter your age, you shouldn’t think you have to live with joint pain and suffer in silence. Many of these conditions worsen with time and should be addressed as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. If you are experiencing joint pain, you can book an appointment with Orthopedic Specialists of Southwest Florida by dialing (239) 215-2008 or reach out online for a quick response.