When to See a Specialist About Your Joint Pain

When to See a Specialist About Your Joint Pain

Ligaments, tendons, and connective tissue support your joints, the areas of your body where bones come together. Most allow for some type of movement, such as the back-and-forth movement of your knee joint or the up-and-down and side-to-side movement of your wrists and ankles.

Because joints have so many different parts, they’re particularly susceptible to injury and disease, causing symptoms such as swelling, redness, tenderness, stiffness, and pain. How do you know, though, when to see a specialist about your joint pain?

At Pinnacle Pain and Spine, interventional pain specialists Dr. Matthew Crooks and Dr. Stuart Rammell provide our patients with state-of-the-art therapies for their joint pain, no matter what its cause. 

If you’re looking for relief for your aching joints, keep reading to find out what we have to offer.

Causes of joint pain

Joint pain can result from injury or from disease.


Injuries can affect any of the components of the joint and fall under the broad categories of connective tissue stretches or tears, bone fractures, joint dislocation, and cartilage damage. Examples include:

With any type of injury, you may experience symptoms other than pain, such as bruising, swelling, and limited range of motion.


The most common cause of joint pain comes from arthritis, of which there are more than 100 forms. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting about 50 million adults and 300,000 children.

By far the most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis (OA), a degeneration of the joint from wear-and-tear over time. Because it does form over a long period, it’s most common in middle-aged and older adults. 

The more you use the joint, the more likely it is for the cushioning cartilage to break down, leaving bone grating on bone. This leads to inflammation, pain, the development of bone spurs, and the deterioration of ligaments and tendons, all of which lead to swelling, joint deformity, and limited range of motion.

Other common types of arthritis include rheumatoid (an autoimmune condition), gout (uric acid crystals deposited in the joints), and psoriatic (linked to psoriasis, another autoimmune condition).

When to see a specialist about your joint pain

If you’ve sustained an acute or repetitive stress injury, the sooner you seek medical help, the better your chances of a full recovery.

A fracture of a joint bone might require manual or surgical realignment of the bones as well as immobilization in a cast or splint until the bones knit. 

Sprains and strains usually require rest, elevation, and some form of support, such as a brace. Healing time depends on the severity of the injury, your overall health, and your willingness to follow your doctor’s instructions.

Physical therapy is a great option to help damaged joints heal and help you regain full range of motion. If you’re in too much pain to do the stretches and exercises, a corticosteroid injection into the joint space might relieve your symptoms enough to get you moving.

We also offer regenerative medicine treatments like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy to promote tissue repair. We inject healing factors from your own blood into the damaged area, speeding up recovery.

If you’re dealing with the effects of arthritis, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy are good treatment options, as is water exercise, which relieves the pressure on the damaged joint.

If you have joint pain, no matter the source, it’s time to come into Pinnacle Pain and Spine for an evaluation by one of our pain specialists. To get started, call us at any of our Arizona locations — Scottsdale, Chandler, or Fountain Hills — or send us a message online.

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