Have you ever thought, “Oh, my aching [fill in the blank]”? You’re not alone. Studies show that nearly 1 in 4 American adults have stiffness and joint pain, anywhere from their head to their fingers and toes. But most joint symptoms occur in the feet, knees, hips, hands, and spine.
It’s easy to assume that joint pain and stiffness are simply a part of aging. But while they can become increasingly more common with each passing year, other conditions can also trigger joint issues — and they can worsen without treatment.
As a renowned orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Jared Tadje sees patients with stiff and achy joints on a regular basis at Tadje Orthopaedics. His state-of-the-art clinic in Meridian, Idaho, has the most modern tools and technologies in the field for diagnosing and treating joint conditions, so you can finally get to the bottom of the problem.
If you have achy joints and stiffness, here’s what you should know.
Understanding joint pain and stiffness
Joint discomfort can come in many forms. For some, the affected joint can feel sore, stiff, or achy. But others complain of throbbing, burning, or grinding sensations. Either way, your body is trying to tell you there’s a problem.
Joints form where two or more bones come together. When they function properly, they allow your body to move, often with the help of cushiony cartilage or lubricating synovial fluid. If pain or stiffness develops, it’s a sign something has gone awry with this delicate system, especially if it becomes severe and affects your mobility.
Taking a closer look at your symptoms and the affected part of your body can offer clues to what’s causing your aches and stiffness.
Common causes of joint pain and stiffness
When people have joint pain, they often assume it’s osteoarthritis. This degenerative joint condition occurs when the cartilage protecting the bones begins wearing away.
Nearly 32.5 million Americans have this condition, most over age 50, but it’s not the only type of arthritis or joint condition that causes stiffness and pain. Other common causes of stiff, achy joints include:
- Sleeping position
- Obesity, which adds pressure on the joints and increases inflammation in the body
- Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory disorder
- Gout, a sudden and severe form of arthritis that often affects the big toe
- Bursitis, inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs cushioning ligaments, muscles, and bones
- Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition
- Lupus, an autoimmune disorder that attacks the joints
In very rare cases, joint pain and stiffness can also arise from bone cancer.
Diagnosing joint stiffness and pain
Fortunately, you don’t have to deal with identifying your joint stiffness and pain on your own. Dr. Tadje can help get to the source of your discomfort and outline the most effective treatment strategy to ease your symptoms and restore function.
It starts with a comprehensive exam. During your appointment, Dr. Tadje reviews your symptoms and performs a physical examination. He could also recommend additional diagnostics, like ultrasounds, digital X-rays, or arthroscopy.
Arthroscopy is an innovative surgical technique that allows Dr. Tadje to see inside a joint to diagnose and treat issues — and it only takes a small incision.
After identifying what’s behind your joint problems, Dr. Tadje can create a personalized treatment strategy to ease your symptoms.
Whenever possible, he uses conservative methods as a first-line approach, like orthobiologics and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. You can rest easy knowing that you’re in good hands, even if you need more extensive treatment, like joint replacement.
Don’t consider achy, stiff joints a normal part of life. Dr. Tadje can help. Schedule a consultation at Tadje Orthopaedics to find out what’s causing your symptoms so you can get relief once and for all.