When Working Out Causes Joint Pain

Exercise is an activity with endless benefits. Along with aiding in weight management, engaging in routine workouts can improve mobility, balance, and coordination. However, for some people with arthritis, finding the right amount of exercise that provides benefits without encouraging additional joint damage can be difficult. If certain symptoms occurs after a workout, such as persistent stiffness or sharp pain, a trip to the doctor may be necessary.


Arthritis or general pain?

Many people understandably might wonder whether sore or stiff joints after exercise are automatic signs of arthritis or simply an inevitable reaction to an intense workout. For individuals who aren’t currently diagnosed with degenerative joint disease, feeling some stiffness for the first 6-8 weeks when starting a new routine is normal. However, the stiffness should resolve after 2-3 days. If stiffness persists for longer, arthritis may be at play. Additionally, if joints become swollen, red, or feel hot to the touch, seeing a doctor is a good idea. Similarly, sharp pain and stabbing are additional signs that an arthritis flare-up may have occurred.

Diagnosing arthritis

In most cases, diagnosing arthritis may require a significant amount of information. Once at the doctor’s office, expect a family history to be obtained, as well as personal health details, a general physical, and an overview of daily habits and activities. The doctor will want to understand a typical workout and recovery routine. Diagnostics, such as imagining tests, may be performed. Additionally, blood work, tissue tests, and even nerve tests might be required.

Relieving joint discomfort

Just because a person has arthritis doesn’t mean that stiffness, soreness, and limited mobility must be part of life. Consider incorporating at-home solutions such as over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory medications and alternating between hot and cold therapy to soothe joint pain. Additionally, some people may find that minimally invasive treatments such as platelet-rich therapy (PRP) treatments can also provide relief and aid in boosting cartilage health. This is especially true for arthritis sufferers with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. In some cases, modifying exercises to accommodate joint issues can also help.

Keep moving

Arthritis is a degenerative disease, and no cure currently exists. However, taking a proactive stance towards the condition can keep people active and minimize disease progression. If joint pain persists after working out, don’t suffer in silence. A doctor can diagnose arthritis and help patients effectively manage the condition while continuing to exercise.

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