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Chronic Lower Body Joint and Muscle Pain

Chronic lower body pain can be debilitating, but there are options for relief. Explore symptoms, diagnosis methods, and treatment plans to regain control of your life from UPMC Orthopaedic Care.

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What Is Chronic Lower Body Joint and Muscle Pain?

Chronic lower body joint and muscle pain can have a major impact on our daily lives.

Every-day tasks — like getting out of bed or climbing a flight of stairs — can be hard for people dealing with lower body pain.

Types of lower body joint and muscle pain

At UPMC Orthopaedic Care, we diagnose and treat:

  • Lower back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Foot and ankle pain

What Causes Chronic Lower Body Pain?

With more than 350 joints in the human body, it's likely we'll all suffer from varying levels of pain during our lives.

Many factors can cause lower body joint and muscle pain, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Injury
  • Over-activity
  • Disease

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What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Lower Body Pain?

Each person suffers pain in his or her own unique way. At UPMC Orthopaedic Care, we'll work with you to diagnose the cause and create a treatment plan for your chronic lower body pain.

Common areas of the lower body that are prone to injury include the:

  • Lower back
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Feet and ankles

Lower back pain symptoms and diagnosis

Back pain — especially in the lower back — is one of the most common ailments for people of all ages.

Causes of back pain are as wide in variety as those who suffer from the condition.

Common causes include:

  • Sports injuries
  • Poor posture
  • Arthritis
  • Sleep issues
  • Poor lifting techniques

To pinpoint the cause of your lower back pain, your doctor may perform a series of imaging tests such as:

Hip pain symptoms and diagnosis

While there can be multiple causes attributed to hip pain, one the most common conditions is trochanteric bursitis.

Our hips have two major bursae. These fluid-filled sacs create a smooth, gliding surface, reducing friction when we move our hips.

When either of these sacs becomes inflamed, we experience the pain associated with trochanteric bursitis.

Knee pain symptoms and diagnosis

When discussing knee pain, one of the most common issues revolves around the kneecap area — also known as the patella.

Often caused by high-impact activities or improper alignment, those suffering from patellofemoral pain syndrome most often feel a dull ache underneath the kneecap when:

  • Walking down the stairs
  • Getting up after an extended period of rest
  • Bending the knee

To diagnose the cause of your knee pain, your doctor will:

  • Ask you about your symptoms
  • Perform an exam by feeling the area of the kneecap
  • Order imaging tests, if necessary

Foot and ankle pain symptoms and diagnosis

Foot pain can be due to a problem in any part of the foot, such as the:

  • Bones
  • Ligaments
  • Tendons
  • Muscles
  • Fascia
  • Toenail beds
  • Nerves
  • Blood vessels

Common symptoms associated with foot ailments include:

  • Discomfort upon standing or walking
  • A constant feeling that you are standing on a rock or pebble
  • Numbness in the foot
  • Radiating pain that feels like electrical impulses

Ankle pain may result from:

  • Fractures
  • Sprains or strains
  • Arthritis
  • Overuse

Common symptoms of an ankle injury include:

  • Swelling
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Burning sensation
  • Inability to put weight on the affected ankle
  • Stiffness

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How Do You Treat Lower Body Joint and Muscle Pain?

If you suffer from chronic lower body joint or muscle pain, the orthopaedic specialists at UPMC can help. We'll oversee your care from diagnosis through treatment, and beyond.

At UPMC Orthopaedic Care, we create custom treatment plans for:

  • Lower back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Foot or ankle pain

Lower back pain treatment

Based on any test results and your orthopaedic doctor's diagnosis, treatments for chronic back pain may include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Weight loss
  • Education on proper lifting and bending techniques
  • Back surgery

Hip pain treatment

After feeling the affected area of your hip to assess the extent of the inflammation, your doctor will most often suggest ice treatment and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Further treatment for hip pain may include:

  • Steroid injections to reduce inflammation
  • Physical therapy
  • Flexibility exercises

Knee pain treatment

While some knee injuries may require surgery to correct the condition, your doctor may first treat your knee pain with:

  • Rest
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • A knee brace

Rehabilitation exercises are also effective at strengthening the knee, and correcting the condition.

Foot and ankle pain treatment

Depending on the impacted area of the foot, and the root cause of your pain, your doctor may suggest something as simple as an insert for your shoe to a more involved surgical procedure to treat your foot pain.

Some common treatments for ankle pain and problems are:

  • Splinting for fractures
  • RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) for swelling
  • Range-of-motion and stretching exercises

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