What Are the Different Joint Inflammation Causes?

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  • Written By: C. Webb
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 22 May 2019
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Several conditions, including bursitis and a specific arthritis, are linked to joint inflammation causes. The inflammation occurs when white blood cells release chemicals in an attempt to ward off a foreign substance. Sometimes the body releases these chemicals when there is no foreign substance to combat. The result is inflammation. This can damage as well as deform the joints.

Joint inflammation causes symptoms such as redness, pain in the joints, stiffness, swelling, warmth, and loss of function. All symptoms do not have to be present to support a diagnosis. Determining and treating the underlying cause of joint inflammation can provide a long-term solution. Treating the inflammation itself while diagnosing the cause may yield a short-term solution.

One of the hallmark symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is joint inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system gets out of control, resulting in multiple symptoms. This arthritis typically appears in matching joints throughout the body. For example, if the right wrist in affected, so is the left wrist. If the left knee becomes swollen and inflamed, there is a good chance the right knee does too.


Joint inflammation causes permanent joint damage in many cases of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Early diagnosis and treatment can slow the progression of the disease and protect joints from destruction. A specific blood test, called the rheumatoid factor test, can be ordered to check the probability that the patient has RA. The test is only a guideline because sometimes it will give a false negative, and the patient will still have the disease. In such cases, medical history, symptoms, including joint inflammation, other signs are used for diagnostic purposes.

Treatment includes anti-inflammatory medications as well as drugs specifically designed for RA. These drugs can have serious side effects. Medical monitoring while on the drugs is important.

Another common cause of joint inflammation is bursitis. There are small liquid-filled bursa sacs throughout the body. They provide the ability for joints to glide smoothly over each other when used. Bursitis causes the sacs to become inflamed, consequently creating joint inflammation, which can be painful. Treatment is to immobilize the joint until healed and to take anti-inflammatory medications.

Joint inflammation causes require different treatments and are sometimes accompanied by fever, fatigue, stiffness, and chills. When joint inflammation symptoms are present, a medical evaluation can typically discover the disease or disorder behind them. Once the cause is treated, the inflammation can be treated as well, which will not only can make the patient more comfortable, but will also slow the progression of joint damage.



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