Inflammation Causing Joint Pain

A joint can be described as the point at which any two bones come to meet. Inflammation of the tissues surrounding these joints can cause extreme discomfort. Damage or inflammation of the joints will interfere with movement and cause severe pain. Joint pain may stem from several different conditions or injuries.


Injuries to the joints and surrounding tissue can cause joint inflammation and pain. The severity of the injury depends entirely on the damage.

Strain - The stretch or tear of a muscle or tendon. Muscles connect to the bones by ligaments. Several symptoms of strains are as follows:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Constrained mobility
  • Swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the joint

Sprains - The stretch or tearing of a ligament. Ligaments connect our bones to one another in the joint. Symptoms of sprains are as follows:

  • “Pop” of the joint
  • Constrained mobility
  • Swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the joint

While minor sprains and strains can be treated at home, you should visit a doctor if you experience complete immobility or numbness in the affected joint.


Painful swelling and stiffness in the joint is a symptom of arthritis. Three common forms of arthritis are:

  • Osteoarthritis - Arthritis of this kind usually occurs with aging or after a severe injury. This causes the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones to wear down over time. Common areas affected by osteoarthritis are the knees, feet, hips and spine.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) - RA is a form of arthritis that can affect individuals of any age. RA causes sudden pain and stiffness in the joints and is most commonly found in the hands, knees and feet. 
  • Gout - Gout is a severe form of arthritis that strikes suddenly. It is often found in the big toe. 

Caring for Acute and Chronic Joint Pain

There are some cases where at-home joint pain recovery is an option, when recommended by a doctor. It is important to know this is for the treatment of mild joint pain and injury only. Several options include:

  • Applying ice to the injured joint to decrease swelling
  • Over the counter pain reliever 
  • Rest! Your body is an amazing thing and can heal many minor injuries itself

When you become completely immobilized from joint pain, it’s important to take action. It is time to take the next step toward visiting your doctor.

When should I see a doctor for joint pain?

It’s easy to brush off the symptoms of joint pain to see if they will relieve themselves, but it’s also necessary to know when a visit to the doctor is important. Some symptoms may warrant a scheduled visit while others may seek more immediate care. If you notice any of the following symptoms in your joints, a visit to the doctor should happen immediately:

  • Increased swelling of the joint
  • Complete inactivity of joint
  • Debilitating pain in the joint
  • Any noticeable deformity 

Could a surgery be the answer?

At UnityPoint Health - Trinity, we treat those with joint conditions with coordinated care alongside a trusted team of orthopedic surgeons. The primary goal of our Total Joint Replacement Program is to provide care for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. Several joint replacement options available at Trinity are:

Knee Replacement Surgery

  • Partial knee replacement

  • Total knee replacement 

Hip Replacement Surgery

  • Partial hip replacement

  • Total hip replacement 

Ankle Replacement Surgery

  • Fracture and sprain repair

  • Ankle reconstruction

  • Ankle arthroscopy 

  • Achilles tendinitis repair (complete and partial)

Shoulder replacement Surgery

Can I prevent joint pain in the future?

Injuries may be unavoidable, but there are some ways to prevent joint pain. Sometimes the amount of weight on a joint can be the cause of discomfort and swelling. In this case, create a plan to relieve the pressure. Losing weight is the best thing you can do for this issue. If you’re going to begin exercising for the first time, or if it has been some time, be sure to do low-impact activities. Bicycling, swimming and beginners yoga are all great options for low-impact exercises.

Although rarely seen as an emergency, both acute and chronic joint pain may need to be addressed by a doctor. The more action you take against injuries, the better your chances of recovery in the long run. If you have questions regarding any joint pain or injury, reach out the orthopedic team at Trinity today!

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