Swollen joints occur when there is fluid in the tissues around the joints. It can be very uncomfortable and can make it difficult for the affected joints to move. In some cases, the swelling can cause the affected joints to enlarge or appear oddly shaped. Joint pain and swelling can affect more than one joint at a time. The most common joints affected by pain and swelling are the elbows, wrists, shoulders, base of the spine, knuckles, hips, knees or ankles. There are two types of joint pain and swelling: acute and chronic. Acute joint pain and swelling come on quickly and last for a short time, for example in the event of an injury. Chronic joint pain and swelling come on slowly and cause long-term problems. This is likely caused by an underlying condition, such as a type of arthritis.
Inflammation plays a central role in joint pain and discomfort. When we sustain an injury, the affected area releases chemicals that cause swelling. Along with swelling, you may notice warning signs of inflammation, including pain, redness, and a feeling of warmth. This is part of our body’s natural healing process. The inflammation can become even more painful if it persists after the injury has healed. This is known as chronic inflammation, in which the immune system begins attacking healthy tissues throughout the body. There are several factors that can cause joint pain. It is very likely to affect individuals who have previously injured a joint, repeatedly abused the same muscle, and those who are overweight. Age, daily wear, chronic health conditions, and mental health issues like depression or anxiety can also cause our joints to not feel their best.