Joint stiffness can be the result of injury, underlying disease, lifestyle factors such as diet and weight, or years of wear and tear on the joint. In some cases, the stiffness is mild; in other cases, it is accompanied by pain and inflammation.
Joint stiffness is not uncommon, especially as we age, but it can be the first sign of another condition, such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that frequently affects the lining of the joints, resulting in inflammation, pain and stiffness.
- Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis causes wear and tear on the cartilage in the joint. If the cartilage wears away, bones will rub against each other, causing pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility.
- Bursitis: Bursae are tiny fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, ligaments, and muscles in the joints. When the bursa become inflamed (bursitis), you may experience joint pain and stiffness.
- Lupus: Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs). It frequently attacks the joints and causes inflammation, stiffness and pain.
- Gout: Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. The first attack is often in the big toe. Gout can cause severe pain, redness, swelling and stiffness in joints.
If joint stiffness comes on suddenly, or does not resolve after five to seven days, it is important to see your doctor to find out what might be causing the issue.
The joint specialists at Lancaster Orthopedic Group are highly skilled in the comprehensive treatment of joint stiffness and can help determine the best course of treatment to ease your symptoms and reduce the risk of recurrence.