It is significant to keep your joints in good shape. With inflammation in them, it is hard even to walk, lie down, sit, grab something, or do many other basic things because of agonizing pain. To survive for the whole day, a person often needs lots of painkillers, such as the over the counter Naproxen.
Therefore, you should know what the signs of joint inflammation are so that you could spot the symptoms early and get the treatment as soon as possible, not to allow the ailment to develop and cause you more suffering. Joint inflammations can have various reasons, such as infections, trauma, or arthritis. They can be chronic, like certain kinds of arthritis, or acute as, for example, a sprained ankle.
It is not always arthritis that leads to inflamed joints, but it does affect a large part of the population. The Arthritis Foundation even calls it the main reason for disability among adult people, and it is not about the elderly only. There are patients of any age, including children. It is also observed that it affects women more frequently than men.
Not to allow any severe disease to develop, react quickly when things are looking and feeling off. We have prepared a list of the most important signs that can indicate that you may suffer from joint inflammation.
The inflamed areas of your body usually feel warm, because of the blood flow being increased in them. People experiencing arthritic ailments may have inflamed joints that feel warm while being touched. However, the skin around those joints may not have a similar temperature. When there is inflammation in the whole body, fevers can appear, because they are the inflammatory reaction of the organism to an infection or disease.
Even though internal inflammation is invisible, you will always clearly feel the pain. This fact is true when it comes to joint inflammation as well. The pain can be felt even without any movement at all, but it gets much more severe when you are trying to get up, sit, walk, lift something, or do other simple things. Sometimes even talking or eating can be painful as there are joints in your jaw as well. Both in the case of chronic and acute inflammation, pain appears because of the inflammatory chemicals stimulating nerve endings, making the affected areas more sensitive.
One of the most common signs of inflammation is definitely swelling. This symptom is present because there is a fluid produced in the joint, as a reaction to the damage in the cartilage surfaces. What is more, swelling can appear as an effect of an injury, making the joints full of blood.
Having your joints swelled, you may also feel that they are stiff. It is a natural reaction of the body to stiffen up when the joint is painful. Actually, it is a way of splinting the joint so that it would not move. In most cases, it is more noticeable after not moving for a long time (after waking up, for example), but sometimes it stays like this for the whole day.
Redness is not that common in a joint that has swollen because of osteoarthritis. However, it can appear if the inflammation was caused by gout or an infection. Redness is an effect of filling the vessels in the inflamed areas with more blood than normal.
When the joint is delicately squeezed, it can have a spongy feeling due to swelling. It is especially common when the inflammation is a symptom of an autoimmune disease called rheumatoid arthritis.
Loss of Range of Motion
A patient with joint inflammation may observe a loss of range of motion. It can occur that your movements will become limited, and, for example, you will not be able to stretch your legs entirely or clench your fists.
Variants of Arthritis Associated with Joint Inflammations
Some of the variants of arthritis that are associated with joint inflammations are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Gouty arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
However, the most common form is osteoarthritis (also known as degenerative arthritis). Nevertheless, doctors are not convinced that inflammation is the primary factor in developing osteoarthritis. Some other unpleasant conditions of your musculoskeletal system and joints in this disease that are not associated with inflammation are, for instance, muscular neck pain, fibromyalgia, or muscular low back pain.
Consult Your Doctor
All in all, it is essential to pay attention to all the previously mentioned signs and do not belittle them. Take into consideration that if joint inflammation is not treated properly, it may eventually lead to functional problems and arthritic changes. As not all the symptoms of joint inflammation are associated with one particular origin, it is significant for you to consult your doctor and ask them for the appropriate treatment plan.
Remember that in order to diagnose you correctly, they may need to know some additional information. For this reason, be prepared to talk about your medical history, and ask your parents or grandparents if there were any cases of arthritis in your family before. A doctor will have to see and touch your joints to analyze their condition, and also order X-rays, blood tests, or other examinations.