That pain you've been feeling in your shoulder, leg any joint, really is making the idea of bending down and crawling into the fort cringeworthy.

Keeping up with your kids can be a pain literally when you have sore and aching joints. The pain might simply be from playing whichever game the kids decided on. But there are times when sore, achy joints mean something more serious is

If you have painful joints, here are some potential medical conditions to be aware of.


Dislocated joints are joints where the bones are not in their normal positions. According to the US National Library of Medicine (NLM), they are usually caused by a trauma like a blow or fall. And they can hurt. A lot.

The pain isn't just a little ache from a trauma. Besides intense pain, you might also have numbness or tingling, and limited movement. Sometimes, there are visible signs that you have a dislocated joint like swelling, bruising, or discoloration, or when you can actually see the joint out of place.

If you have injuries to the nerves and blood vessels around your joint, you could be looking at more permanent problems. So, it's important to see a physician immediately if you suspect dislocation. Healing could take 6 to 12 weeks, which might seem long. But hey, more time to rest and catch up on Netflix, right?


If joint pain spreads far away from the joint, you might be suffering from tendinitis, says the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). Pain can get worse at night or with movement, according to the NLM.

Thankfully, tendinitis doesn't usually require surgery unless it's still limiting your activity after a few months, according to the ACR. Your physician might recommend:

  • Taking medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen
  • Resting the joint
  • Doing physical therapy
  • Supports like a cane, or a splint or brace
  • Injections with corticosteroids a type of medication that relieves inflammation, according to the NLM

If pain comes on suddenly, the ACR recommends RICE. The treatment method, not Chinese food. (But Chinese food might make you feel better emotionally, anyway.)

The R.I.C.E. method for treating tendinitis: Rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

Tendinitis is an overuse injury, the ACR notes, so you might need to make some adjustments at work if the injury is job-related.


Inflammation and stiff joints are two of the main symptoms of arthritis, says the Arthritis Foundation (AF). You might feel the stiffness with or without pain, and it can harm any joint in your body wrists, knees, feet, elbows, shoulders, hips, fingers, hands, lower back, and jaw.

When is stiffness a sign of arthritis? Morning stiffness for 1 hour or more. Stiffness after exercise. Stiffness while sitting down, relaxing, or after taking a walk.

You should also be on the lookout for swelling and difficulty moving the joint, says the AF. If you have any of these symptoms, see your physician.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Pain that is constant, lasts for a long time, and is severe could signal complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a chronic pain condition that usually affects the arms, legs, hands, or feet, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

It's believed to be caused by damage to your nervous system, and with your nervous system compromised, your body can do some pretty interesting things. For example, your skin can appear shiny or change color, without the help of bronzer and tattoos.

You might also notice:

  • Changes in hair and nail growth patterns
  • Changes in temperature in the impacted arm or leg
  • Stiffness
  • Difficulty coordinating muscle movement or moving the body part
  • Unusual movement in the impacted limb, such as an abnormal posture that stays in place, tremors, or jerks

See your doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms. She might suggest rehabilitation therapy, medications, or another type of treatment.


If you're a fan of the show “House,” you might be familiar with the phrase, “It's never lupus.” Well, sometimes it is.

Lupus occurs when your immune system can't tell the difference between foreign invaders viruses, bacteria, and germs and healthy tissue, explains the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA). So, it ends up attacking and destroying healthy tissue, including organs, nerves, skin, and bones.

The LFA has found that joint pain is the first symptom in over 50% of people with lupus, but there are many other symptoms as well. You might notice extreme tiredness (not from chasing the kids), weight loss, or swelling around your joints.

Since these symptoms could all be signs of other diseases the LFA actually calls lupus the “Great Imitator” because its symptoms mimic those of other conditions look out for some more specific signs accompanying aching joints:

  • Chest pains when breathing deeply
  • Butterfly-shaped rash across your nose and cheeks
  • Sensitivity to the sun or light
  • Hair loss
  • Sores in your nose or mouth

Aches and pains can often go away with early treatment, so if you're constantly feeling joint pain, it might be time to see a physician. Make an appointment with one of West Valley's orthopedic specialists by calling (208) 455-3981.

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