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What could cause sudden joint pain and swelling in the hands and feet?

A:

Quick Answer

Joint pain and swelling in hands and feet is often caused by a form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout are the most common forms, states WebMD. When tissues that surround a joint have an increase in fluid, swelling occurs.

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Full Answer

Osteoarthritis is usually the result of aging or injury. It is caused by wear-and-tear of the cartilage that pads the ends of bones. Swelling typically occurs in the joints that bear the most weight, such as the knees, hips, feet and spine, explains WebMD. There is no known cure, but by eating a healthy, low-fat diet, a person can control his weight and alleviate joint pain. Exercise is also shown to help with joint pain, but consult a doctor first before starting an exercise regimen.

Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age. It causes inflammation and painful, stiff and swollen joints. As with osteoarthritis, treatments range from medications and surgery to rest and exercise, according to WebMD. Treatment is often dependent on a patient's age, health, medical history and the severity of the arthritis.

Gout can affect more than a single joint and cause severe swelling, joint pain, warmth and redness, often in the big toe, notes WebMD. This occurs because uric acid, a normal chemical in the body, forms crystals that rest in the joints. These crystals can also rest in other areas and become nodules in the skin or kidney stones.

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