Joint pain affects millions of Americans. Though you can develop joint pain from many causes, including injuries and infections, arthritis is most often the culprit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 million Americans experience severe joint pain from their arthritis. No matter the cause, you may wonder at what point your joint pain is serious.
At Chicago Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, S.C., our fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Vasili Karas, knows a lot about joint health and specializes in joint replacement surgery. So you get the care you need as soon as you need it, we wanted to share the signs that may indicate your joint pain is a serious medical concern.
Underlying cause of your joint pain
Joints are the points in your body where two or more bones meet. The joints may be fixed, like those in your skull, but most joints are moveable, like the joints in your shoulders, hips, and legs.
In addition to the bones, your moveable joints are separated by cartilage, which assists with mobility, protects the joint, and prevents the bones from rubbing together.
Your joints are also surrounded by other connective tissue, including muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support joint stability and mobility.
Joint pain may develop if any of the components in or around your joint are damaged or diseased. Common causes of joint pain include:
- Sprains and strains
As noted, arthritis is the most common cause of joint pain. More specifically, osteoarthritis. Also known as wear-and-tear arthritis, osteoarthritis develops over time as the cartilage in between the joint degenerates, allowing bone-on-bone contact that leads to pain, swelling, and stiffness.
When joint pain might be serious
Joint pain is common, but shouldn’t be ignored. If you’re experiencing joint pain after an injury or from an unknown cause, you need an evaluation.
If you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis, then you know what’s causing your joint pain. However, arthritis is a progressive condition that worsens over time. Signs that your arthritis joint pain may be more serious include:
- Worsening pain
- Swelling or redness
- Diminishing range of motion
- Changing joint appearance (deformity)
Whether your joint pain is from an acute injury or chronic arthritis, ignoring the pain won’t make it go away. In fact, not getting the care you need may worsen your condition and you may lose total control over the joint.
Treatment for joint pain
Dr. Karas is an experienced orthopaedic surgeon and specializes in joint replacement surgery; specifically, hip and knee replacement surgery. Though surgery may be inevitable depending on the cause of your joint pain, it may not be the first recommended treatment for easing your discomfort. You may find relief from your joint pain with conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, heat and ice therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, and/or joint injections.
When these methods no longer work, then joint surgery is recommended. At Chicago Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Dr. Karas uses the most advanced surgical techniques and offers many replacement options, including:
- Robotic-assisted joint replacement
- Total knee and hip replacement
- Partial knee replacement
- Complex hip and knee replacement
Dr. Karas also provides painful joint replacement surgery. Whether you’re unhappy with your joint replacement surgery or your prosthetic joint is starting to fail, Dr. Karas can provide the care you need to alleviate pain and restore joint function.
Joint pain that worsens over time may be serious and should be evaluated. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Karas at Chicago Orthopaedics and Sports, contact us by phone or online today.