Joint Pain Treatment in Las Vegas – Ankle, Knee, Hip, Elbow, and Shoulder

Joint pain is usually caused by arthritis, but it can occur due to an injury or joint trauma. Based on a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 50 million Americans have some form of arthritis and joint pain.

What are the causes of joint pain?

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) – This is the most common cause of joint stiffness and pain. This is caused from damage to the surface of the bones, swelling of tissues around the joint, and loss of cartilage. OA affects older adults, persons who are overweight, and individuals with joint injuries.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) – This is an autoimmune disorder where the layer of tissue lining the joints becomes inflamed and joints become inflamed.
  • Gouty arthritis – When uric acid builds up in the body, the joints can become painful and tender. Uric acid accumulates when not properly excreted by the kidneys.
  • Traumatic synovitis – This occurs after an injury, when the joint lining becomes inflamed and painful.
  • Haemarthrosis – With this particular condition, the patient has a knee fracture or torn ligament, causing bleeding into the joint space. Bruising, stiffness, and knee pain occurs with this injury.
  • Chondromalacia patellae – With this condition, the patient has knee joint pain that gets worse when coming down or climbing up stairs.
  • Psoriatic arthritis – This autoimmune disorder causes severely painful, stiff joints.
  • Joint trauma – When a person injures a joint, the supporting structures can be compromised. This causes joint pain, bruising, and damage to the ligaments or cartilage. Joint injury increases the patient’s chance of developing avascular necrosis or arthritis.

How does the doctor treat joint pain?

The treatment of joint pain depends on the underlying cause, the severity of the condition, and the patient’s existing health status. Options are:

  • Steroid injection – The doctor can inject the painful joint with a corticosteroid agent, such as triamcinolone or methylprednisolone. Joint fluid can be removed before the injection if necessary. In a recent clinical study, steroid injections improved functional ability and relieved pain for up to three months.
  • Hyaluronic acid injection – Synvisc, Hyalgan, and Orthovisc are brands of hyaluronic acid, which is a synthetic lubricating substance derived from chicken combs. The doctor injects this substance into the joint to improve functionality. A recent research study found that this improve the symptoms of knee arthritis for up to six months.
  • Medications – The pain specialist may use a combination of medications to treat joint pain. The most commonly prescribed agents are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ketoprofen and naproxen. Topical agents also are used, such as menthol, capsaicin, and salicylates.
  • Knee bracing – When the knee is affected, a brace is used to assist with proper alignment and apply force to the supporting structures. This allows the patient’s weight to be redistributed away from the damaged joint.
  • Acupuncture – To stimulate acupoints on the body, the practitioner can insert small needles into the skin. This stimulates the body’s self-healing ability, and restores energy flow. A clinical study found acupuncture to be superior to placebo for chronic knee joint pain.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Arthritis Data and Statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics.htm

Hinman RS, McCroy P, Pirotta M, et al. (2012). Efficacy of acupuncture for chronic knee pain: protocol for a randomised controlled trial using a Zelen design. BMC Complement Altern Med, 12(161). doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-12-161.

Lambert RGW, Hutchings EJ, Grace MGA, Jhangri GS, Conner-Spady B, & Maksymowych WP (2007). Steroid injection for osteoarthritis of the hip. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Arthritis Rheum, 56(7):2278–87. doi: 10.1002/art.22739

Miller, L. & Block, JE (2013). US-approved intra-articular hyaluronic acid injections are safe and effective in patients with knee osteoarthritis: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, saline-controlled trials. Clin Med Insights Arthritis, 6, 57-63. doi:  10.4137/CMAMD.S12743