General Idea about Swollen Joints

Posted on 17. Jul, 2012 by in General Health Concerns

Injuring one’s joints can be a very big hassle most especially for people who are always on the go. Joint injuries will hamper one’s movements and cause pain especially if left untreated. Swollen joints or joint effusion commonly occur as a result of sudden increase in the volume of fluid which lubricates the joints. Joint effusion is commonly an indicator of possible severe health complications such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondilitis, infectious arthritis, gout, joint injuries and psoriatic arthritis.

The increase in fluid in the joints usually results from bleeding resulting from infection, trauma, and immune reaction. Infection occurs because of two ways: through an open wound or through blood transmission from a different injury. Infecting organisms abound in joints because of the presence of synovial membrane. Common infecting organism that results to joint effusion includes streptococci, gonorrhea bacterium and staphylococci.

Trauma which results to breakage of cartilages and ligaments can lead to joint inflammation. Critical injuries might cause bleeding inside the joint which can complicate the joint effusion. Trauma is usually results from accidents and sporting activities.

Immune reaction comprises the body’s protective response against adverse drug reaction, automatic response, allergy and infection. Immune reaction possibly leads to swollen joints because of the synovial membrane located in joints. The body’s automatic and protective response to infections might cause inflammation in the membranes in the joints.

Presence of any combination of the following symptoms will warrant a visit to the doctor. The different symptoms which signal that a person has joint effusion include severe pain, stiffness, difficulty in movement, redness, swelling, sensitivity to touch, fever, warm joints, clicking sound of the joint (when moved) and evident joint deformity.

When joints begin to inflame, individuals should avoid constant movement and rest the inflamed portion. They can also use a joint brace in order to prevent strain on the injured joint.  Mild massage using topical oil can also help in preventing worsening the joint’s condition. This should be immediately done in order to prevent further deterioration of the joint.

Treatment for swollen joints depends on the case and extent of inflammation. Generally, the following medications are prescribed by doctors for patients who suffer from joint effusion:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be used to reduce the swelling of the joints and worsening of the pain. These drugs can be topically or orally applied.
  • Corticosteroids are also effective in short-term reduction of joint pains. This type of steroids is often used when there are chronic inflammations in the patient’s joints. Corticosteroids prevent the release of chemicals which cause pain in the joints. Corticosteroids can be applied through oral or joint injection means. Joint injection is the last resort when oral application of steroids is not effective.
  • Arthrocentesis or joint aspiration involves draining of the joint fluid in order to reduce the pressure in the joints. This leads to relieving of joint swelling and pain reduction. Joint aspiration is also used to diagnose unknown causes of joint problems.
  • Antibiotics can be taken whenever joint infection is present. Antibiotics help in treating the infection and prevent it from worsening. When an infection has already complicated and it cannot be treated by antibiotics, joint surgery is commonly recommended.


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