Joint pain

Joint pain is a common condition, which can affect a range of people.

Causes of joint pain

There are several different causes of joint pain; these include an infection or injury, tumours or conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. Arthritis is common in elderly people as the joints become worn; it is also common in retired professional sports players due to overuse. Commonly, injuries affecting the joints include sprains and strains; these may be mild and heal quickly or severe, which may take a long time to heal. Many sports put considerable pressure on a single or multiple joints; over time this may cause the cartilage to wear down which may contribute to joint pain and a loss of movement.

Symptoms of joint pain

Common symptoms of joint pain include swelling, stiffness and a restricted range of movement around the affected joint; there may also be redness.

Treating joint pain

Mild conditions usually heal quickly with the help of anti-inflammatory medicine, rest and gentle exercise. More serious conditions may require prolonged management, which may include a combination of rest, medication and specifically designed exercises and stretching; physiotherapy may also be recommended to strengthen the area around the joint and increase movement. Pain caused by medical infections will usually be treated with medication; this may be followed by a course of physiotherapy to build up strength in the affected joint. Heat and ice can also help to reduce swelling and ease pain; these are commonly used to treat sports injuries.

Preventing joint pain

Generally, frequent, light exercise and a healthy diet will significantly reduce the likelihood of suffering from joint pain. Sports players should warm up and cool down thoroughly each time they exercise. Maintaining a healthy and stable weight will also decrease pressure on the joints.

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