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Ana asked...

I have been suffering strong pain in my joints.

I have read the article about arthritis and found it very helpful as I have been suffering strong pain in my joints for more than 2 months, especially left hip, left shoulder, and sometimes knees and hands/fingers as well. Now the pain in my hip is so strong that I can't run/exercise or even walk properly. I've seen my GP and had a hip X-Ray but it seems normal, although I still think I should have further tests done to find a proper diagnoses. I have AXA PPP insurance but don't know how to proceed or the type of tests I need to request. I have a physiotherapist appointment too. I am 31 years old so at the beginning I thought I should not consider arthritis as this is an illness that happens normally in people over 50, what do you think?

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The answer

Joint pains are common, but you are young to be affected so much. If you had pain just in one large joint, such as a hip, it could be due to osteoarthritis. However, at your age it would be much more likely to be down to strain to the muscles around your hip or possibly inflammation of a ‘bursa’ – a potential fluid-filled sac – over the surface of your hip. Osteoarthritis is rare in people of your age unless they have had major trauma in the past to the joint affected, or have a long term joint condition such as congenital dislocation of the hip.

Getting pain in multiple joints, especially your smaller joints such as your fingers, needs looking into. It is not uncommon to get inflammation of multiple joints following a viral infection, and these inflammations tend to settle on their own. However, an auto-immune condition – in which your body recognises part of itself as an ‘enemy’ and attacks it – needs to be ruled out. This kind of arthritis includes rheumatoid arthritis and arthritis associated with the skin condition psoriasis.

I would suggest that you speak to your GP about getting some baseline blood tests, including a full blood count, ESR and anti-CCP antibody test done. If the pain persists, ask him about a private referral to a rheumatologist.

Answered by Dr Sarah Jarvis  


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