Other Joint Care & Treatment

Joint pain can be caused by many types of injuries or conditions. No matter what causes it, joint pain can be very bothersome.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes stiffness and pain in the joints. Osteoarthritis involves growth of bone spurs and degeneration of cartilage at a joint. It is very common in adults older than 45 and can cause joint pain.

Joint pain may also be caused by bursitis (inflammation of the bursae). The bursae are fluid-filled sacs that cushion and pad bony prominences, allowing muscles and tendons to move freely over the bone.

Diagnosing Joint Problems

Your health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask you about your medical history. The following questions may help identify the cause of your joint pain:

  • Which joint hurts? Is the pain on one side or both sides?
  • How long have you been having this pain? Have you had it before?
  • Did this pain begin suddenly and severely, or slowly and mildly?
  • Is the pain constant or does it come and go? Has the pain become more severe?
  • What started your pain?
  • Have you injured your joint?
  • Have you had an illness or fever?
  • Does resting the joint reduce the pain or make it worse?
  • Does moving the joint reduce the pain or make it worse?
  • Are certain positions comfortable? Does keeping the joint elevated help?
  • Do medications, massage, or applying heat reduce the pain?
  • What other symptoms do you have?
  • Is there any numbness?
  • Can you bend and straighten the joint? Does the joint feel stiff?
  • Are your joints stiff in the morning? If so, how long does the stiffness last?
  • What makes the stiffness better?

Tests & Diagnosis

The following tests may be used to help determine the cause of your joint pain or problems.

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC) or blood differential
  • Joint X-ray

Physical therapy for muscle and joint rehabilitation may be recommended. A procedure called 

Ankle Replacement Surgery

Ankle replacement is surgery to replace the damaged parts of the three bones that make up the ankle joint.

Artificial joint parts (prosthetics) are implanted in place of the old bones. The artificial ankle joints come in different sizes to fit the patient.

Ankle replacement surgery may be performed if the ankle joint has been severely damaged. Causes of damage include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Fracture
  • Arthritis due to previous ankle surgery

Elbow Replacement Surgery

Elbow replacement is surgery to replace the bones that make up the elbow joint with artificial joint parts (prosthetic components).

Elbow replacement surgery is typically performed if the elbow joint is severely damaged and you are experiencing pain or loss of motion. Causes of damage include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Poor result from previous elbow surgery
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Severely broken bone in the upper or lower arm near the elbow
  • Severely damaged or torn tissues in the elbow
  • Tumor in or around the elbow