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Joint Inflammation Causes and Prevention: An Overview

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The inflammation of joints can lead to painful and swollen joints. Read the article to know more about its causes, symptoms, and prevention.

Written by

Dr. Aparna Arun

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Anuj Gupta

Published At August 24, 2023
Reviewed AtAugust 24, 2023

What Is Meant by Joint Inflammation?

Inflammation of joints occurs when the damaged tissues or the body's immune system releases chemicals that cause pain, swelling, and other symptoms in the joints. Inflammation of joints can happen in one joint or sometimes multiple joints throughout the body, depending on the cause of inflammation. Inflammation is the body's immune response to an irritant, infection, or injury. Diseases, wounds, and allergies can cause inflammation in the body parts. The most common cause of inflammation of joints is the injury or inflammatory arthritis. Inflammation caused by injury can be resolved, but a chronic condition called inflammatory arthritis may worsen over time. When a joint gets inflamed, the blood vessels around the joints get dilated to allow more blood into the inflamed joints. White blood cells (that have an essential role in the body's immune system) in the blood rush to the inflamed area when the joint works to fight irritants or infections. This rushing of white blood cells causes inflammation in the joint. The joint may feel painful, and the intensity of the pain may increase due to inflammation. The chronic inflammatory response may damage the joints.

What Are the Causes of Joint Inflammation?

The common causes of joint inflammation include:

  • Injury - An injury in a joint area causes localized inflammation. When a joint gets inflamed, it causes swelling, the body's natural response. This inflammation helps the body to release white blood cells and nutrients to promote healing. Inflammation of joints caused by injuries affects the daily activities of the person.

  • Inflammatory Arthritis - A group of conditions that damage joint health is said to be arthritis. Inflammation of joints causes inflammatory types of arthritis. Most of them are progressive and chronic conditions. They usually start in one joint and affect the other joints. Some of the inflammatory types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, osteoarthritis, systemic sclerosis, and psoriatic arthritis. Most of the types of inflammatory arthritis is an autoimmune condition (occurs when the body's immune system attacks the healthy tissues). When a joint becomes infected by some infections, it causes septic arthritis.

What Are the Symptoms of Joint Inflammation?

People with joint inflammation may experience the following:

  • Difficulty in moving their affected joints.

  • Bulging or swelling in the affected joint.

  • Aching pain around the affected joints.

  • Warmth around the affected area.

  • Redness around the joints.

  • Stiffness of the joints.

If symptoms appear after any injury, the inflammation of joints is short-term due to the body's response to injury. If the symptoms appear with fever or any other infection, then it may be a sign of arthritis which should be treated for the long term.

How Can One Prevent Joint Inflammation?

There are many ways to prevent joint inflammation. Prevention of the inflammation depends on its cause; if the inflammation is due to injury, it requires the safety of a person. Still, if the inflammation is due to inflammatory arthritis or other autoimmune conditions, there are various ways to prevent it. Some of them include:

  • Exercise: Performing physical activities is one of the best ways to prevent inflammation of joints caused by inflammatory arthritis. Moderate-intensity exercises for 30 minutes daily can help in the flexibility of joints and strengthen the muscles that surround the joints. Some physical activities include walking, doing household work, playing with kids, playing with pets, etc. Doing routine workouts can significantly relieve people with joint inflammation due to inflammatory arthritis, as it is a long-term condition. Injuries to the joints often lead to osteoarthritis. Performing exercises strengthens muscles, which in turn helps in the balance and stability of the affected joints. Doing a moderate exercise routine helps the person to prevent injuries.

  • Nutritious Diet: A diet containing omega-3 fatty acids helps prevent joint inflammation caused by inflammatory arthritis. The foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids include:

    • Walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
    • Cold water fish like tuna, sardines, and salmon.
    • Flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola.
    • Omega-3 supplements.
    • Eggs, milk, and yogurt.
    • Low-fat dairy products.
    • Cherries.
    • Garlic.
    • Citrus fruits.
    • Broccoli.
    • Green tea.
  • Reduction of Body Weight: Being overweight leads to increased stress on the knees, increasing the strain on the hips. This increased pressure and strain breaks the cartilage, which cushions the joints. Fat cells may also produce cytokines that cause inflammation in the body. These cytokines produced by fat cells cause the increased cartilage breakdown that helps cushion the joints. Being a normal BMI (Body Mass Index) may help prevent joint inflammation caused by inflammatory arthritis.
  • Reduction of Blood Sugar Level: Some research has shown that increased blood glucose level causes stiffness of cartilage that, in turn, damages the joints. Diabetes may cause inflammation of joints throughout the body due to cartilage damage. Reducing the blood glucose level helps in preventing the inflammation of joints.

  • Quit Smoking: People who smoke can also be affected by joint inflammation. Smoking affects the circulatory and respiratory organs, which helps a person stay active while exercising. Lack of physical activity may lead to inflammatory arthritis, which causes joint inflammation. Physical activity and exercises may result in regaining the joints' and muscles' flexibility and strength.
  • Getting Medical Consultation: If the person notices joint pain that persists for more than a few days, they should consult a healthcare provider, as inflammatory arthritis is a condition that damages the joints more if left untreated. The doctors may recommend a medicine that slows down the progress of inflammatory arthritis and helps in relieving pain. In severe cases, the doctors may recommend surgery to repair the severely damaged joint.

Conclusion:

Joint inflammation caused by various factors can be prevented by certain preventive measures. If the inflammation of joints is left untreated it may cause complete restriction of movements in the body that impacts the quality of life of a person. It is very important to consult a healthcare professional and get treated as conditions may get worse over time.

Dr. Anuj Gupta
Dr. Anuj Gupta

Spine Surgery

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joint swellingjoint inflammation
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