What Causes Joint Swelling?
Joint swelling is caused by an increase of fluid in the tissues that surround the joint. This increase in fluid levels can occur as a result of a number of different health conditions or injuries. Joint swelling is not always accompanied by joint pain, although it usually is and the same factors contributing to what causes joint swelling will also result in joint stiffness. This condition is much more problematic when it happens to older people, and the explanation for this is quite simple; their joints are already in poorer shape because of naturally degenerating with age. So, whatâ€™s the best treatment for joint swelling, for a person of any age whoâ€™s suffering from swollen joints.
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We’ll have a further look at this and provide even greater detail on what causes joint swelling. From there, we’ll also weigh the different products people can use as ways to reduce swelling in joints, including Voltaren gel. It’s important to keep in mind that swollen joints are the same as joint inflammation. Inflammation occurs when the body’s immune system is working as it’s supposed to. Yes, it’s unpleasant and often painful, but remember it’s happening because it should be.
Further, in the interest of keeping this interesting, we’ll also talk about some facts about joints in the human body. Including one that even the most human physiology-knowledgeable people won’t be aware of – only your knees and elbows are hinge joints.
Why Joints Swell the Way They Do
We touched on this above, but first discussion of anything around what causes joint swelling should be around injuries. Most people will have turned an ankle playing sports or more simply just clowning around at some point in their lives. You’ve then seen it quickly grow to the size of a small grapefruit. It’s quite easy to injure a joint unfortunately, and these injuries can result in painful, swollen joints and stiffness in them.
Strain injuries like the turned ankles mentioned above are the most common of them, but injured or torn muscles, tendons, and ligaments that surround the joint can also be behind what causes joint swelling. Bursitis, tendonitis, Lyme disease and even broken bones can also contribute to swollen joints, and arthritis is the most common cause of chronic joint inflammation and pain.
Synovial sarcoma is more of an unknown, but it is a type of soft tissue cancer that occurs most frequently with adolescents and young adults. It’s very uncommon for it to be behind what causes joint swelling, but it can be. It typically affects knee and ankle joints.
Best Treatment for Joint Swelling
This will depend on the cause of a swollen joint, and to a lesser extent which specific joint is affected. As is the case with so many injuries or conditions, the best treatment for joint swelling is rest and inactivity. This is as the human body is intended to work, give it the time it needs to heal properly and have the swelling go down naturally.
The next joint swelling remedy that needs to be mentioned is another tried-and-true classic remedy – applying ice. Doing this for 15 to 20 minutes every hour with either an ice pack or actual ice wrapped up in towel or plastic bag will decrease swelling and pain and prevent tissue damage.
Next up is keeping the swollen joint in the air, and preferably elevated above your heart if possible. This is easier for upper body joints, but good ways to do this for lower body joints like knees and ankles are to use stacked pillows or cushions to elevate either leg while lying on your back.
There are effective joint inflammation medications you can use. NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are the most popular choice here. Ibuprofen is what most people take for joint swelling and pain, and as most of you will be aware it’s available UTC (under-the-counter) without a prescription. As far as prescription joint inflammation meds go, Celebrex (Celecoxib) is one of the best choices for people suffering from swollen joints.
Interesting Facts About Joints
If you were to ask most people to guess how many joints there are in the human body, do you think there’d even be a few people who’d wager a guess of more than 100? Unlikely, but even if they did guess 100, they wouldn’t even be halfway there – there are actually 230 movable joints in the human body.
Some joints move and some don’t. Movable ones are classified as synovial joints, and most joints are of this type. Synovial fluid is what allows them to move freely and smoothly. Some people may also be surprised to learn that there are actually joints in your skull. None of them move. Plus, the only joint-less bone in the body is the hyoid bone. It’s found in your throat, and it’s also the only bone in your body that is not attached to other bones.
The joints in our fingers are the ones that bend the largest number of times in a day, but we imagine that comes as a surprise to no one. What might is the fact that when people ‘crack’ their knuckles the sound that is made has nothing to do with bones contacting each other at all. In fact, what it is there is the sound of nitrogen gas bubbles bursting!
Back to What Causes Joint Swelling
We’ll wrap it up here today by discussing another source of what causes joint swelling. A person’s diet can play a part in this too, as certain foods can promote inflammation in a big way. These include:
- High-fat meats
- Fast food (due to trans fats)
- Junk food
- Processed food
Alternately, eating foods that are rich in omega 3 oils like wild ocean fish can do wonders for improving your joint health. High-fiber diets can also promote reduced inflammation all over the body, and if you have joint inflammation you might be surprised how much benefit there is to be had from eating more fruits and vegetables.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The above information is intended to increase awareness of health information and does not suggest treatment or diagnosis. This information is not a substitute for individual medical attention and should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. See your health care professional for medical advice and treatment.