Joint pain and swelling is the hallmark of arthritis. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, although just a few account for most cases. Joint inflammation is the one thing all forms of arthritis have in common.
If you’re dealing with joint pain, you shouldn’t ignore it. While it doesn’t always mean that you have arthritis, joint pain is a sign of an underlying issue. Internal medicine physician Prabhdeep Singh, MD, diagnoses and treats a full spectrum of conditions that cause joint pain, including arthritis. Treatment can help alleviate pain and improve mobility. Keep reading to learn more about arthritis and some of the telltale warning signs.
Arthritis and joint pain
Arthritis is an umbrella term that refers to more than 100 conditions that affect joints. The most common types of arthritis are:
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, and while it can affect any area of the body, it most commonly affects the knees, hips, spine, feet, and hands. Obesity, wear and tear due to injury, and age-related wear and tear are the most common causes of osteoarthritis.
If you have osteoarthritis, you may experience:
- Joint pain
- Reduced range of motion
Symptoms are often more noticeable upon waking and after an extended period of inactivity. You may also notice pain during movement or right after physical activity.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints. The hands, wrists, and feet are affected for most people with RA, but it can occur in any joint. The inflammation caused by RA can affect various organs in the body, leading to symptoms in areas other than the joints. In addition to the typical joint pain and stiffness, people with RA commonly experience:
- Lung inflammation
- Skin nodules
- Numbness and tingling
- A general unwell feeling
Over time components and supportive structures of the joint break down from ongoing damage, and this can cause deformity of the affected joints. Fingers may look bent out of shape, affecting the ability to perform typical daily tasks.
People with RA tend to have another autoimmune disease, such as Sjögren’s Syndrome, which happens when the immune system attacks moisture-producing glands of the eyes and mouth. While the exact reason is unclear, women are three times more likely to develop RA than men.
Systemic lupus erythematosus
Like RA, Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), commonly referred to as just lupus, is an autoimmune disease. It can affect various organs and systems throughout the body, including the lungs, joints, heart, and kidneys. Like RA, lupus is more common in women than men.
While lupus isn’t classified as a type of arthritis, joint problems are common in lupus. The knees, fingers, wrists, and toes are most often affected. The inflammation caused by lupus can lead to the same type of joint pain, swelling, and tenderness as common forms of arthritis.
There is no cure for lupus. However, joint problems seen with this condition are managed similar to arthritis-related joint issues.
Diagnosing and treating joint pain
Minor joint pain that is brief and resolves on its own is usually nothing to worry about. However, persistent or recurrent joint pain requires a thorough evaluation to get to the root of the problem. Dr. Singh offers comprehensive treatment for a full spectrum of joint issues and works with specialists when appropriate to provide you with the best quality of care.
When you’re struggling with joint pain, you need answers and treatment to get relief so that you can get back to doing the things you enjoy. If you’re dealing with joint problems, don’t hesitate to call us at 760-208-1338 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Singh, or send your booking request here on our website.