As we age, our bodies naturally begin to break down. Arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis often begin to set in, and old injuries can come back to haunt us. If you notice any of these persistent symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor.
Occasional stiffness or pain in a joint is normal, especially if you exercised or performed another strenuous activity recently. However, it’s when these symptoms persist that you should start to worry. Common signs of trouble:
- joint stiffness as you get out of bed or after sitting for long periods of time, pain
- swelling or tenderness of the hip joint
- “crunching” sound or sensation
- inability to move hip to perform routine activities such as putting on socks
- pain in the front of the thigh or the groin
These symptoms can indicate a range of hip problems, including tendonitis, bursitis, hernia, and bone fracture.
Signs of knee deterioration or injury can be similar to those for the hip. Symptoms to pay attention to include:
- pain during or after movement
- tenderness, stiffness
- loss of flexibility
- grating sensation
- bone spurs
- inability to straighten the leg fully
- inability to bend at the joint
- inability to bear weight
Persistent symptoms can indicate knee injuries like ligament/tendon injury, torn meniscus, fracture, and dislocation.
On work-related injuries
If you’re still working, and you suspect (or know) that the injury was sustained on the job, report it to your employer immediately. Seemingly minor injuries can become more complicated as you age, and early treatment can prevent permanent damage. Worker’s compensation covers the initial costs of the injury while you’re undergoing treatment so you don’t have to worry about paying out of your own pocket. It may also be responsible for future treatments if they’re a result of a work-related injury.
What to tell your doctor
Some of the abovementioned signs are easier to ignore than others. It may be tempting to simply brush them off, especially if they’ve bothered you for a while. But it’s important that you see your doctor and describe the exact symptoms you’re noticing. Mention how long you’ve noticed the symptoms, and if there’s been any previous injury to the area that may have contributed to the current symptoms.
A doctor may take x-rays or perform other tests to determine exactly what’s wrong and figure out a course of treatment that will not only bring you relief, but also prevent further damage to the joint.