You Don’t Have to Live With Joint Pain
Don’t Let Joint Pain Slow You Down
Your joints are involved in almost every activity you do. Simple movements such as walking, bending, and turning require the use of your hip and knee joints. Normally, all parts of these joints work together and the joint moves easily and without pain. But when the joint becomes diseased or injured, the resulting pain can severely limit your ability to move and work.
Whether you are considering a total joint replacement, or are just beginning to explore available treatments, this website is for you. It will help you understand the causes of joint pain and treatment options. Most importantly, it will give you hope that you will be able to do more of the things you enjoy — with far less pain.
Once you’re through reading this website, be sure to ask your doctor any questions you may have. Gaining as much knowledge as possible will help you choose the best course of treatment to help relieve your joint pain — and get you back into the swing of things.
Understanding the Causes of Joint Pain
What is a Joint?
A joint is formed by the ends of 2 or more bones that are connected by thick bands of tissue called ligaments. For example, the knee joint is formed by the lower leg bone, called the tibia or shin bone, and the thigh bone, called the femur. The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint, formed by the ball, or femoral head, at the upper end of the thigh bone, and the rounded socket, or acetabulum, in the pelvis.
The ends of the bone in a joint are covered with a smooth, soft material called cartilage. Normal cartilage allows nearly frictionless movement. The rest of the surfaces of the joint are covered by a thin, smooth tissue lining called the synovium. The synovium produces fluid that acts as a lubricant to reduce friction and wear in the joint.
Common Causes of Joint Pain
One of the most common causes of joint pain is arthritis. The most common types of arthritis are:
It is sometimes called degenerative arthritis because it is a “wearing out” condition involving the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. When cartilage wears away, the bones rub against each other, causing pain and stiffness. OA usually occurs in people aged 50 years and older, and frequently in individuals with a family history of osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
It produces chemical changes in the synovium that cause it to become thickened and inflamed. In turn, the synovial fluid destroys cartilage. The end result is cartilage loss, pain, and stiffness. RA affects women about 3 times more often than men1, and may affect other organs of the body.
It may develop after an injury to the joint in which the bone and cartilage do not heal properly. The joint is no longer smooth and these irregularities lead to more wear on the joint surfaces.
It can result when bone is deprived of its normal blood supply. Without proper nutrition from the blood, the bone’s structure weakens and may collapse and damage the cartilage. The condition often occurs after long-term treatment with cortisone or after organ transplantation.
1. Arthritis Foundation website, accessed February 2009