Inflammation in the synovium (the lining of the joint) is the root cause of joint stiffness. Synovium is to be understood as the connective tissue lining of the capsular ligament of the synovial joint. The chief function of synovium is to reduce friction in the joints and lubricate them; so that they are able to function properly. Joint stiffness can be seen as a preliminary symptom of arthritis. It is the most common characteristic of the ailment and can be described as the discomfort experienced after a period of immobility of joints, a decreased range of motion, or a loss of range of motion in one of the joints. Other than the major cause of arthritis, a number of reasons can lead to stiffness in the joints. Explore the article to find what causes joint stiffness.
Causes Of Joint Stiffness
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Women are more commonly affected by RA as compared to men. RA affects people falling between the age group of 25-45 years. Swelling in wrists and hands characterize the joint stiffness associated with RA. The organs which are mainly affected by this type of joint sickness are knees, feet, neck, shoulder, elbows, fingers and wrists.
This is the most common type of arthritis, which usually affects people above 50 years of age. In this case, stiffness is caused due to the formation of an extra bone, which results in the enlargement of the joints. In osteoarthritis, stiffness is not accompanied by swelling. At the same time, joint stiffness may last for about 30 minutes after waking up.
Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)
Hip and shoulder joints are mainly affected in Polymyalgia Rheumatica. It mostly affects people who are above 55 years of age.
Not a type of arthritis, this condition affects women in more numbers than men. Severe pain in joints and muscles is experienced. Tender areas and multiple fatigue in the body may also lead to joint stiffness in this case.
At times, viral infections are also known to cause joint stiffness. Swelling in the affected joints may also be experienced occasionally. When join stiffness is caused by viral infections, it generally resolves within a matter of days or weeks.
Joint injury of any kind, strain and pain in the joints, over use of joints, or any prior joint injury that hasn’t healed completely can also result in stiffness. This can be accompanied with swelling in some of the cases.
Treatment options to cure joint stiffness need to factor in the actual cause behind the problem and the organ that has been affected. Physical therapy, exercise and medication are much relied upon to treat joint stiffness in many of the above mentioned reasons. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines are also referred to patients suffering from the ailment. Over the counter medications are to be avoided, when it comes to curing joint stiffness. It is better to consult an orthopedic doctor, so that the best treatment can be decided.