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What Are Common Causes of Sudden Joint Pain?

Physical therapy may help relieve joint pain.
Sudden toe joint pain can be caused by gout.
A man with joint pain.
Article Details
  • Written By: K. Gierok
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 21 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Sudden joint pain can not only be quite painful, but also very frightening if its causes are unknown. Some of the most common causes of sudden joint pain include a traumatic fracture or dislocation. In addition, chronic conditions such as gout or sickle cell anemia can also lead to sudden joint pain that is both extremely debilitating and can take several days to resolve. Those suffering from these conditions should seek medical care from professionals skilled in the treatment of sudden joint pain.

One of the most common causes of sudden joint pain is associated with a traumatic fracture of a bone. A traumatic fracture occurs most often through direct impact to the affected bone. There are many causes of traumatic fractures, including car accidents, sports injuries, or even falls from great heights. Unlike a broken bone, which typically only causes pain in the specific area that has been affected, a traumatic fracture can cause radiating and sudden joint pain in the extremities as well.

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Another common cause of sudden joint pain occurs during dislocations. A dislocation occurs when two bones that typically meet together at their ends are moved out of their normal position. This causes a severe immobilization of the joint, and causes radiating pain in the area affected. The most common areas of dislocation include the shoulder, knee, pelvis, ankle, and fingers. Unfortunately, individuals who have suffered a dislocation often are prone to future dislocations of the same joint, along with sudden joint pain. Stabilizing the area through an increase in muscle mass is one way to protect against future dislocations.

Gout can also lead to sudden joint pain. Gout occurs most often at the base of the large toe, and is associated with an inflammation of the joint. Typically, this results in high amounts of pain and tenderness in the affected area. In addition, the toe may feel swollen and even hot to the touch.

Sickle cell anemia can also lead to sudden joint pain. Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary condition, meaning that it can be transmitted from parent to child. In sickle cell anemia, red blood cells are abnormally shaped and susceptible to bursting, causing anemia. Individuals suffering from this condition often experience high amounts of swelling and severe pain in the joints. Unlike some of the other conditions, which typically last only for a short time, the pain associated with sickle cell anemia can last anywhere from only a few minutes to several days.

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