5 myths and truths about joint pain
Last update: 24 February 2020
Joint pain in the feet is more common than you might think. However, even if the majority of the population may experience it at some point in their lives, there are many misconceptions about joint pain.
Joint pain is usually a symptom of a more serious problem. Inflammation, infection or abrasion, joint pain in the feet can be caused by different pathologies.
This is why it is important to be able to understand its origin and to identify people it may affect.
Myth 1: Joint pain only affects the elderly
There is some evidence that aging contributes to the development of joint pain. In fact, the proportion of people with arthritis or osteoarthritis is twice as high among those aged 65 and older as among those aged 45-64.
The truth: there are as many causes of joint pain as there are people who suffer from it. In fact, according to the Arthritis Society, 1 in 5 Canadians over the age of 15 say they have arthritis, which is one of the causes of joint pain.
Myth 2: The appearance of joint pain is always a sign of inflammation
In the case of polyarticular joint pain (which affects several joints simultaneously), the most common cause is in fact inflammation: arthritis. Joint pain related to inflammation will also exhibit distinct symptoms; for example, swelling or redness around the affected joints.
The truth: unlike polyarticular joint pain, monoarticular joint pain is not always due to inflammation. Among young adults, traumas such as sprains or sports injuries may be a factor.
In rarer cases, joint pain may be related to blood circulation issues, joint imbalances in the foot, infections or tumours.
Myth 3: Only prescription medication can relieve joint pain
When joint pain is caused by inflammation, medication may be an appropriate treatment. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids are recommended to combat this pain.
The truth: because joint pain is not always the result of inflammation, other treatments can be considered. For traumatic joint pain like sprains, the application of ice provides effective relief, as does therapeutic bandaging. For more chronic pain, plantar orthotics are recommended.
Myth 4: All physical activity should be stopped as soon as joint pain develops
If joint pain is the result of trauma, it may be more prudent to protect the affected area. Sports activities like running and weight training should be avoided.
The truth: many low-impact activities like cycling and swimming help you stay fit while being gentle on your joints. In addition, participating in sports promotes better blood circulation and limits weight gain for faster healing.
Myth 5: Humidity increases joint pain
Rain, cold or humidity are often cited as reasons to justify an increase in the intensity of joint pain. This phenomenon seems to be particularly prevalent among the elderly, who experience pain in their hips, knees and hands.
The truth: in a 2017 American study, researchers were interested in the influence that weather has on joint pain. By combining medical records and meteorological data, the researchers were able to analyze this widespread myth.
The result? Despite some variations, no significant correlation could be established between medical consultations for joint pain and inclement weather.
PiedRéseau, your ally in the treatment of joint pain in the feet
Are you experiencing joint pain in the plantar region? PiedRéseau has a network of some forty clinics specializing in the treatment of this type of pain. Our multidisciplinary podiatrists are trained to treat a variety of pathologies.
It is important to remain proactive when it comes to the health of your foot joints. Be proactive as soon as you notice any pain, whether due to trauma or inflammation.
Contact PiedRéseau to help reduce joint pain in your feet.