Joint pain

Joints connect your bones to one another, providing you with support and the ability to move. Problems in a joint, whether due to injury or disease, can affect your movement and cause pain.

Joint pain is an extremely common problem, one with many different causes. On this page we will give an overview of some of the most common symptoms, causes and treatments available, but it is always advisable to seek the advice of a medical professional if your joint pain is long-term, severe or impacting on the quality of your life. If you would appreciate assessment, diagnosis and advice on treatment for your joint pain, please contact us to book your appointment with an orthopaedic consultant at the Circle hospital nearest to you, at a time that is convenient for you.

Joint pain can vary in intensity and scope, from dull and infrequent to severe and debilitating. While mild, short-term joint pain is more easily managed than serious long-term pain, the quality of your life can be affected significantly regardless.

You may have pain in one joint or in many joints, depending on what is causing it. The most common joints to experience pain are the knee, shoulder and hip, but joint pain can occur all over your body.

The type of joint pain you are experiencing can be a good indicator to your consultant of the potential causes. Five of the most common causes of joint pain are:

  • Injury: trauma to a joint can damage the ligaments, muscles, tendons or cartilage in and around it. While a joint injury can result from an unexpected fall, trip or impact, it can also be caused by overuse, over stretching or lifting excess weight without adequate preparation.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: a long-term, inflammatory joint disease, causing pain, stiffness and swelling in your joints. This can affect the whole body, although it is most commonly seen in the hands, feet and wrists.
  • Osteoarthritis: causes the cartilage at the end of your bones to break down, leading to the bones in the joint to rub together. It is particularly common in the joints of the hips, knees and hands
  • Bursitis: Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that cushion your joints from shock and impact. Inflammation of a bursa is known as bursitis and can cause pain and swelling in your joints. While bursitis will often resolve itself naturally after a couple of weeks, more severe or long-lasting cases may require treatment.
  • Gout: an inflammatory form of arthritis caused by excess uric acid in your bloodstream. It causes hot, swollen and painful joints.

The treatment that will be best for your joint pain will depend on the cause, location, duration and severity of the pain. All of these will be expertly assessed by a Circle consultant during their appointment with you, giving you complete peace of mind that you will not be suffering with unnecessary pain any longer.

For pain caused by injury or bursitis, treatment may involve:

  • Ice: A cold ice pack on the affected joint may help to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Medication: Painkillers, particularly non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen, can help to relieve pain and reduce any inflammation in the joint.
  • Physiotherapy: Your consultant may recommend that you see a physiotherapist for help. If your joint pain has been caused by overuse, or poor function, the physiotherapist will be able to help show you alternative ways to carry out certain tasks in order to lower the risk of experiencing joint pain again.
  • Surgery: For certain injuries, surgery may be required to correctly restore function and remove/reduce joint pain. If your bursitis is caused by an infection in the bursa, a surgical procedure may be required to drain the bursa.

For joint pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or gout, your consultant may initially advise a painkiller such as paracetamol and codeine or an anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen. Additional options include steroid tablets or injections, biological treatments and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and these will be carefully assessed to see if they are appropriate for you.

When you visit with us at Circle, your consultant-led treatment is individually tailored to you and your symptoms to ensure you receive optimal benefits, pain relief and quality of life.

If you would like help managing and treating your joint pain, we believe that you will find no better place than a Circle hospital. Each of our hospitals provides fast access to a consultant, state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic equipment and a highly-experienced multidisciplinary healthcare team to ensure your joint pain is effectively managed and treated as quickly and effectively as possible.

Contact us today to arrange an appointment with an orthopaedic consultant at your nearest Circle hospital, at a time convenient to you.

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Circle Health Group, 1st Floor, 30 Cannon Street, London, EC4M 6XH