Joint Pain Treatment in Philadelphia – Ankle, Knee, Hip, Elbow, and Shoulder

Joint pain is a common symptom of many conditions. Arthritis is the main cause of joint pain. When pain occurs in only one joint, it is often the result of injury. The CDC report that as many as 52 million Americans suffer from some type of arthritis.

What is the most common type of arthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) causes joint pain and joint stiffness. This occurs from damage to the protective surface of the bones, and mild swelling of tissues around the joint. This type of joint problem often affects those who have suffered serious injuries to the joint, as well as overweight individuals.

What other conditions cause joint pain?

  • Rheumatoid arthritis – With this disease, the layer of tissue lining the tendons and joints becomes inflamed due to an autoimmune reaction.
  • Traumatic synovitis – After an injury, inflammation to the joint lining can cause swelling and pain.
  • Gout – With this condition, there is a build-up of uric acid in the body, which causes painful, warm joints. The uric acid accumulates when the kidneys do not properly excrete it.
  • Chondromalacia patellae – This condition causes knee joint pain, which is worse climbing or coming down stairs.
  • Haemarthrosis – With this condition, the patient suffers from a knee fracture or torn ligament, which bleeds into the joint space. The associated symptoms are knee pain, stiffness, bruising, and stiffness.
  • Psoriatic arthritis – This is another autoimmune disorder that results in inflamed, painful joints.
  • Lupus and scleroderma – While not real common, these conditions are caused by the immune system attacking connective tissue, organs, and healthy cells.

What is a joint injury?

Any injury that can weaken or compromise the structural components of the affected joint can lead to joint pain. After a joint injury, the patient may have damage to the ligaments and surrounding structures, bone bruising, remodeling, or cartilage damage. Joint injury increases a person’s change of suffering from arthritis or avascular necrosis.

How is joint pain treated?

Joint pain therapy depends on the underlying cause, as well as the severity of the condition. Treatment options include:

  • Medications – The pain specialist will prescribe one or a combination of medications. These include anti-inflammatory agents (ibuprofen, naproxen, and ketoprofen), as well as tramadol and acetaminophen. Topic analgesics used on the joint include capsaicin, salicylates, menthol.
  • Steroid injection – The doctor may choose to inject the joint with methylprednisolone and/or triamcinolone). The needle is inserted into the joint, and the doctor may first withdraw synovial fluid that has accumulated. A recent clinical study found steroid injections to improve functional ability and relieve pain for up to three months.
  • Hyaluronic acid injection – This is a synthetic lubricating substance derived from rooster combs. The doctor injects this into the joint to replace the synovial fluid lost due to arthritis. Examples include Hyalgan, Synvisc, and Orthovisc. In a recent research report, this treatment improved knee arthritis for more than 6 months.
  • Acupuncture – The practitioner inserts fine needles into the skin to stimulate acupoints along the body. This therapy also promotes the body’s self-healing abilities. One recent study found this to be a cost-effective therapy for chronic knee joint pain.
  • Bracing – A special knee brace is used to apply force and assist with alignment of the knee. This device allows weight to be redistributed away from the damaged knee joint.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Arthritis Data and Statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics.htm

Hinman RS, McCroy P, Pirotta M, et al. (2012). Efficacy of acupuncture for chronic knee pain: protocol for a randomised controlled trial using a Zelen design. BMC Complement Altern Med, 12(161). doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-12-161.

Lambert RGW, Hutchings EJ, Grace MGA, Jhangri GS, Conner-Spady B, & Maksymowych WP (2007). Steroid injection for osteoarthritis of the hip. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Arthritis Rheum, 56(7):2278–87. doi: 10.1002/art.22739

Miller, L. & Block, JE (2013). US-approved intra-articular hyaluronic acid injections are safe and effective in patients with knee osteoarthritis: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, saline-controlled trials. Clin Med Insights Arthritis, 6, 57-63. doi:  10.4137/CMAMD.S12743