We’ve all experienced it – aches and pains in our joints from sports and exercise, aging, or weather changes. Rarely is joint pain an emergency, however joint pain can be an indicator of something that requires urgent care. So when does it become an issue that the doctor needs to deal with?
Here are the signs that you should seek prompt medical attention for painful joints:
- You experience a dry mouth or excessive thirst, dry skin, headaches, weakness, dizziness and other symptoms of dehydration along with your joint pain. When the synovial fluid in your joints becomes low, your joints are unable to glide and can become painful to move.
- You received an injury on or near the affected joint, especially if you experience any type of physical abnormalities. Sprains and strains often cause joint pain, or you may have a fracture. X-ray imaging can rule out broken bones.
- If your pain is accompanied by any redness, swelling, tenderness, and/or warmth around the joint and lasts longer than a few days, you should see a doctor. You may be experiencing a bone infection known as osteomyelitis. Permanent joint damage can occur if infection, arthritis, or other conditions causing these symptoms are left untreated.
- You’ve started new medication(s). Some antibiotics and other prescription drugs can cause an inflammatory response in your body that causes achy joints. If this occurs, you will often experience a rash and may suffer from nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
- Your big toe hurts. Often thought of as an antiquated disease, gout is very much a common condition today. When uric acid from high-purine foods like meat and seafood builds up in your system, it forms crystals that cause joint inflammation. This typically starts in your big toe and also affects the feet and knees, though it can strike anywhere.
- You’ve been bitten by a tick, even if you don’t notice the rash that looks like a bull’s eye. Lyme disease often causes joint pain as well as a headache and/or fever. It is caused by a bacteria spread from ticks to humans and requires urgent medical care to reduce long-term effects of the disease.
While experiencing joint pain is never a pleasant situation, it may not be as concerning as it seems to be. One survey found that about 1 in 3 adults reported joint pain within 30 days, so much of the time it’s not cause for alarm. However, if you have concerns about your joint pain, or experience the symptoms above, please come in for our orthopedic urgent care in Fairless Hills for quick treatment.