Do you experience sudden pain in your joints when running, playing sports, or participating in any exercise related activity? A lot of people, especially younger athletes who think they’re invincible, tend to injure a joint and try to play through the pain. As any qualified medical professional would tell you, playing through a sudden pain in your joints could have a severe negative impact both now and later on down the road. By playing through the pain, you stand a much greater chance of injuring yourself even further. Instead, immediately stop what you’re doing even if you’re half way through a 5K run. You’d be much wiser to walk the remaining way or call a friend to come get you. The quicker you deal with your joint injury the quicker it will potentially heal. By ignoring it you stand a pretty good chance of doing permanent damage.
When should you seek medical attention for your sudden joint pain?
- If you have trouble moving a joint and it looks abnormal
- You’re experiencing severe pain, swelling, or numbness
- If you can’t put normal pressure or weight on your injured joint
- A past injury flares up and becomes even more swollen and the pain does not subside
Most of us will decide on self treatment instead of calling an ambulance or visiting an emergency room, especially us guys. Most minor sudden joint pain is treatable at home. For the pain, doctors usually recommend Ibuprofen, which is available over the counter at your local CVS, Eckerd’s, or Rite Aid. The next step would be to follow the RICE method. No, I’m not telling you to boil some water and cook up some brown rice. RICE is an acronym that stands for:
Rest – Get off your feet if it’s your ankle, knee, or leg joint. Perhaps use a can or crutches to get around for a few days.
Ice – For the initial 24 hours, apply ice wrapped in a rag or towel 10-15 minutes at a time. Do this 3-5 times a day.
Compression – Wrap the injured joint in an elastic bandage. Just make sure not to wrap the joint too tightly.
Elevation – Raise the injured joint above heart level which helps keep down the swelling. A pillow works great.
If the RICE method does not help, then it may be time to call your doctor. The sudden pain in your joints may be more serious than originally anticipated. For long-term joint health you may want to try a glucosamine chondroitin supplement which has been show to help rebuild cartilage in the joints. Make sure to stick with a reputable brand like Solgar Glucosamine Chondroitin.