What Causes Joint Inflammation in the Body?

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What is Joint Inflammation?

Joints are structures that connect any two parts of your body — elbows, knees, hips, and the like. Joint inflammation is a common condition in which the joints tend to get inflamed due to an overactive immune system. Usually, it’s due to an injury, but it could be due to chronic conditions such as arthritis in more severe cases.

Arthritis is a condition where the joints either get inflamed or degenerated. In the former, it can cause severe pain in the joints. The most common affected areas are feet, knees, hands, hips, and the back. 

Another cause of joint inflammation is when you have an infection or the presence of a foreign substance in the body. In this case, your immune system produces lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) to clean them up — causing inflammation.

That being said, these are not the only causes of joint inflammation. In this article, we’ll go over the various causes of joint inflammation, how you can identify them and treat them.

The usual suspects that cause joint inflammation

Joint inflammation is a problematic condition because it can cause severe pain in the joints, affecting your quality of life. Over time, chronic inflammation can even permanently damage the joint. Below, we’ve listed a few suspects that can cause joint inflammation.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

It’s an autoimmune disorder which means that your immune system tends to attack the lining of your joints. Over time, it causes severe degeneration — in periods of excessive pain affecting and remission. 

It mainly affects hands, wrists, and knees and is differentiated from other arthritic conditions by seeing whether or not they affect both sides of the body


It occurs due to the shedding or wearing away of smooth cartilage muscle in the joints. It used to be considered a non-inflammatory form, but recent studies have proved otherwise. Although it’s a much milder version of joint inflammation — it still causes a considerable amount of pain.


This occurs when there’s a buildup of uric acid — a waste product in the joints. When these crystals build up in the joints, it can cause extreme inflammation and severe pain that last for 10 days. It almost feels like your foot is on fire in severe cases, and it should never be left untreated. 

Psoriatic Arthritis 

It’s an unusual cause of joint inflammation, and this type of arthritis is found in people who experience psoriasis or have a family history of the same. Those who suffer from this condition also experience morning stiffness. This happens when the body’s immune system attacks different parts of the body like hair, skin, and even the joints.

Other causes of joint inflammation

Other causes include bone fractures, spondylitis, hyperthyroidism, sarcoidosis, rheumatic fever, and even tendinitis. It’s always best to check with a rheumatologist first to see the actual cause of the inflammation. 

Treatment for Joint Inflammation

If you don’t know what’s causing the joint inflammation, try using the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) technique. You do it in intervals of 20 minutes and observe for any differences. 

After visiting your doctor, it’s more likely that you’ll be prescribed Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) or even Steroids to reduce the inflammation in the joints. Along with this, you’ll also be asked to go for physical therapy to improve your range of motion and joint strength. 

Preventive care is the best way to go — if you’re aging or have suffered injuries in the past, it’s best to remove any excessive pressure on the joint, avoid any high-pressure exercise, and regularly massage the joints.

Final Word

All in all, there are many causes of joint inflammation, mostly that concern your immune system. It’s always best to seek expert help in these cases, as you might not know the actual cause. Contact us to schedule your consultation today.

St Paul Rheumatology