Select a Topic
- What are Joints?
- What Causes Sore Joints?
- Sore Joint Symptoms
- Diagnosing Sore Joints
- Help for Sore Joints
What are Joints?
Joints make movement possible and act as cushions to absorb shock. Joints are located at every place where two or more bones join together. There are different types of joints in the body that allow for varying degrees of movement. Joints in the knees are hinge-like and move back and forth. Complex joints like those at the hip allow for a full range of motion.
Joints provide support for movement and are surrounded by cartilage, an outer membrane that produces fluids that lubricate the joint, ligaments (for stabilization), tendons (which act as connectors) and bursa - a fluid-filled sac between ligaments and bone that decreases friction.
Joint soreness can occur when there are problems with the joint itself, or any of these surrounding tissues.
What Causes Sore Joints?
Soreness of the joints can happen anywhere in the body and for a variety of reasons. Sore joints can be the result of overuse, injury, illnesses like the flu or more serious conditions like arthritis, gout, or bursitis.
The most common cause of sore joints is arthritis, a chronic inflammatory condition that causes deterioration of the joints and surrounding bone. Gout is another common cause of sore joints. When uric acid builds up in the system and is unable to be flushed out, it crystalizes and accumulates in the joints. The crystals cause soreness, swelling and stiffness of the affected joints.
Pregnancy, obesity, lack of exercise and viral infections can also cause sore joints.
Sore Joint Symptoms
Swelling, stiffness, warmth and pain can all indicate inflammation, injury or infection present in the joints. Persistent pain, or pain that is accompanied with fever or a viral infection should be treated by a physician. Joint pain that is severe and comes on suddenly should be treated immediately.
Diagnosis for Sore Joints
Diagnosis of the causes of sore joints requires a thorough physical examination and medical history. The doctor will look at the symptoms leading up to the joint pain to determine if the cause is due to injury or another condition. The doctor will also want to know if anything relieves or aggravates the condition. After an exam, if the cause is not apparent, further testing such as x-rays or MRI scanning may be recommended.
Help for Sore Joints
Sore joints can be soothed with several natural remedies. Devil's claw and frankincense are effective herbal medicines for supporting healthy joints. Devil's claw has also been shown to reduce uric acid levels and is good for preventing gout.
Supplementing with Glucosamine is also highly recommended. Glucosamine repairs cartilage and helps maintain joint mobility. It is produced in small amounts by the body, but not in amounts sufficient enough to sustain joint health.
There are also many homeopathic remedies that work well to support joint health, relieve inflammation, and ease pain. Arnica is used to support joints and connective tissues. Bryonia treats inflammation and more acute pain associated with movement. Rhus tox is used for sprains, strains and other musculoskeletal issues.