Skip to main content

Joint pain care and treatment

swimming woman

What causes joint pain?

If you or a loved one is suffering from painful joints, it’s important to learn about treatment options and find the best solution for pain-free living. Whether you have a complex condition that may require joint replacement surgery, a sports injury or injury from a previous trauma or accident, bone or joint pain, or simple wear-and-tear from everyday life, our highly-trained orthopaedic specialists offer a full spectrum of treatment options for joint pain.  

Joint pain can be caused by many types of injuries or conditions, and people of all ages and activity levels can experience painful joints. Your pain might be the result of: 

  • Overuse - If you've experienced an injury or repetitive stress caused by prolonged overuse or misuse, you are more likely to develop pain in those joints. 
  • Arthritis - Osteoarthritis, commonly called OA, develops when the cartilage in your joints becomes damaged. As the cartilage begins to deteriorate, your bones can rub against each other, causing pain.  
  • Excess weight - Being overweight or obese puts strain on your joints — especially weight-bearing ones like your knees and hips. Every pound of extra weight you carry puts more strain on your joints. Over time, this added strain can cause the cartilage around the joints to break down, increasing your risk of developing OA. 
  • Worn cartilage - As the cartilage between your joints begins to deteriorate, your bones can rub against each other, causing friction and pain. If your cartilage issues began after you experienced an injury or accident, you could be at risk for a type of OA called post-traumatic arthritis. 
  • Tendon or ligament tear – Although they have different functions, ligaments and tendons are both made of connective tissue and can be stretched too far or torn. When this happens, the associated joint can become inflamed and painful.  
  • Other injuries – A previous sports injury, injuries resulting from an accident or trauma, or repetitive joint stress from overuse can cause chronic joint pain.  
 
Yes, I want healthier joints!

How to treat joint pain

Everyone’s experience with joint pain is unique, and treatments will differ from person to person. Geisinger offers a variety of options for treating joint pain.

Non-surgical options

Although surgery may be needed in some cases, there are several nonsurgical treatments that can help relieve pain and discomfort and improve range of motion.

  • Weight loss - The most important thing you can do to manage osteoarthritis (OA), a common cause of joint pain, is to get to a healthy weight. This causes less inflammation and stress on your joints, helping to preserve joint health.  
  • Cortisone injections - Administered by your orthopaedic doctor, cortisone (a steroid hormone commonly called a "steroid shot’) is injected directly into the sore joint to ease pain quickly and reduce inflammation.  
  • Gel injections - Your body naturally produces a substance called hyaluronic acid, a fluid which helps lubricate your joints. If you have osteoarthritis, the hyaluronic acid in the affected joint decreases. Hyaluronic acid injections, also called gel injections or viscosupplementation, help increase the fluid around your joints. 
Hip and knee pain

Knee care - Knee pain is one of the most common types of orthopaedic pain we treat at Geisinger. Some common symptoms of knee pain include: 

  • Clicking, popping or creaking sounds 
  • Tenderness, warmth or swelling 
  • Stiffness upon walking 
  • Pain after repetitive use or everyday activities, such as walking up steps, bending down or sitting in a chair 
  • Pain after prolonged periods of inactivity
  • Arthritis (including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis), joint disease, worn cartilage, tendon and ligament tears, and other conditions can all cause severe knee pain. 

See knee pain symptoms and treatments
 
Hip care - We see people of all ages with hip pain at Geisinger. Some common symptoms of hip pain include: 

  • Pain that radiates from the thigh, groin, buttocks, or inside or outside of hip joint 
  • Clicking, popping or creaking sounds 
  • Tenderness, warmth or swelling 
  • Stiffness upon walking 
  • Pain after repetitive use or everyday activities, such as walking up steps, bending down or sitting in a chair 
  • Pain after prolonged periods of inactivity


Arthritis (including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis), joint disease, osteoporosis, previous injury or overuse/misuse injury can all cause severe hip pain. 

See hip pain symptoms and treatments

Joint replacement

Knee replacement surgery - There are two types of knee replacement surgeries: 

  • Partial knee replacement – During a partial knee replacement procedure, your surgeon will remove part of the knee joint and replace the damaged parts with an artificial replacement joint, called an implant. 
  • Total knee replacement - The most common type of knee replacement surgery is a total knee replacement, a procedure that takes between one and three hours. During this procedure, an orthopaedic surgeon removes damaged cartilage and bone before fitting the implant.  


Hip replacement surgery  

  • Total hip replacement - A total hip replacement involves removing damaged bone and cartilage around the hip and replacing them with ball-and-socket implants designed to replicate the human hip joint. The prosthetic joint, which combines high-grade metal and plastic components, will be attached to your bone and padded with plastic to minimize friction. 


Mako robotic-arm-assisted joint replacement surgery 

Living with chronic joint pain can dominate your every waking moment and take away your independence. If you suffer from advanced stages of osteoarthritis (OA) or degenerative knee or hip problems, a Mako™ robotic-assisted joint replacement could be your saving grace. 

Mako®™ is a robotic surgical arm that helps perform partial knee, total knee and total hip replacements. Geisinger is the sole provider of Mako joint replacement surgery in the region, combining highly-advanced surgical technology with the orthopaedic care you trust. 

This minimally invasive surgery relieves pain, restores mobility and can help you return to an active lifestyle faster. 

Our orthopaedic doctors are dedicated to providing innovative treatments and tailored-to-you joint pain relief.

We offer:   

  • Unmatched expertise – Our orthopedic team consists of more than orthopaedic and sports medicine doctors, many of whom are fellowship trained. This team of highly trained specialists sees patients for many different orthopaedic conditions and joint replacement surgery.    
  • Exclusive, advanced surgery - If you’re suffering from knee pain and/or hip pain and haven’t had success with nonsurgical therapies, you may be a candidate for Mako™ robotic-arm–assisted surgery. This minimally invasive surgery relieves pain, restores mobility and can help you return to an active lifestyle faster.  
  • World-class care, close to home - With 24 locations throughout central, northeast and south-central Pennsylvania, our experienced orthopaedic team provides evaluations, consultations and comprehensive care. We offer leading-edge treatment options and tailored-to-you care backed by the expertise and innovation of a nationally-renowned health system. 
  • Comprehensive specialty care - From joint replacement, sports medicine and chiropractic care, to a world-renowned spine surgery program, our orthopaedic doctors are dedicated to offering innovative treatment options and personalized care in convenient locations, so you don’t have to travel far. 
  • Leaders in research - We publish more research than any other orthopaedic academic center in Pennsylvania. What does our commitment to researching new treatments and techniques translate to? Better, more advanced care for our patients.
 
Roseland Hartland and her dog, Susie.

“For anyone who’s thinking about getting this done, I’d like to put them at ease. From beginning to end, there’s absolutely nothing to fear.” 

 

Read Roseann's story

Need to see an orthopaedic doctor?

Call 855-949-2663 to schedule a consult today.
Schedule a consult