ZocdocAnswersWhat is the cause of and treatment for my joint pain?

Question

What is the cause of and treatment for my joint pain?

I am a 25 year old male. I have occaisional joint pain in my fingers, wrists, and knees. I have cracked my knuckles and my knees for many years. The pain is throbbing in my fingers but really sharp in my knees, but only when I stand on them. As far as I know I don't have a family history of this sort of problem.

Answer

This type of pain in multiple joints is fairly unusual for someone your age. Because you are young, and you have symptoms in multiple different joints, you should get evaluated soon to see if you have an early arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type and occurs when joint cartilage wears away from use. I think you are too young to have osteoarthritis in multiple joints. Another possibility is that you have rheumatoid arthritis. This type cause pain in multiple joints on both sides of the body, with stiffness that is worse in the morning and works its way out throughout the day. This distinction is important because the types of arthritis are treated differently. Because you have not received any official diagnosis, and your pain could be do to a few different problems. Thus I think the best physician for you to see first would be your primary care physician. He or she can examine your joints closely to look for swelling, tenderness, and warmth. In addition, your doctor can ask about the time course of your pain (when it began, what time of day it hurts the most, etc). From there, you can get a referral to a rheumatologist if your doctor thinks rheumatoid arthritis is on the list of possibilities.

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