Joint pain can be caused by injury or disease of the joint or adjacent tissues. A joint is the area at which two bone ends meet to provide motion to a body part. A typical joint is composed of bones that are separated by cartilage that serves as cushioning pad for the adjacent bones. Ligaments attach bone to bone around the joint. Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that provide a gliding surface for adjacent tendons. Tendons attach muscle to bone around the joint. Injury or disease to any of the structures of the joint can lead to pain in the joint. Joint pain is also referred to as arthralgia.
The treatment of joint pain is directed toward the precise underlying cause. If the problem is an injury, the initial treatment often includes rest, cold applications, and antiinflammatory medications. Additional medications for pain control may or may not be required. Gradual rehabilitation physical therapy may be needed.
If there is a form of arthritis causing the joint pain, antiinflammatory medications may be recommended, followed by other medications directed at the cause of the arthritis. If there is disease of the bone, ligament, or cartilage, surgical operation may be required.