Stiffness can affect any joint in your body, including your fingers, hands, wrists, knees, and elbows. While experiencing joint stiffness, you may find it more difficult than usual to walk, stand, type, or perform other regular daily tasks. If your symptoms are ongoing, you should seek treatment.
Joint stiffness can occur when range of motion is limited or difficult. It can also occur just after waking up or getting up after sitting for a while. In other cases, it can be more severe and be accompanied by pain and inflammation.
Joint stiffness can occur because of several reasons, including the following:
Rheumatoid arthritis—A chronic inflammatory disorder causes your immune system to attack the lining of your joints. It often affects the wrists and the small joints of the hands and feet.
Osteoarthritis—A type of arthritis that occurs when cartilage (which cushions your joints) breaks down with age. It often affects the knees, hips, neck, lower back, and fingers.
Bursitis—Bursitis occurs when bursae (tiny fluid-filled sacs that provide joint cushioning) become inflamed. It’s most common in the elbow, shoulder, and hip, although it can affect any joint.
Fibromyalgia—This chronic pain condition affects the muscles and patients often report joint stiffness as well.
Stiff joints are usually treated by addressing the underlying cause and taking measures to provide relief. Treatment can include:
Heat or cold—A cold compress used 15-20 minutes at a time several times a day can reduce swelling and pain. A heating pad, hot bath, shower can also provide relief.
Over-the-counter medications—Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen may provide relief, especially if your stiffness is caused by arthritis.
Steroids—Corticosteroid injections can reduce inflammation, which causes stiffness and pain to decrease.
Physical therapy—Directed exercises can increase mobility and help relieve stiffness.
If you’re suffering from joint stiffness, make an appointment with ProOrtho for treatment to help you regain your mobility and provide relief for your joints.
Curious about other health, exercise, or pain management tips? Contact the top orthopedic doctors at ProOrtho today. Request an appointment here.