Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Joint pain and swelling treatments

2-minute read

Acute Joint pain, such as strains and sprains, can usually be helped by the PRICE method:

  • Protect the joint area from further damage or harm
  • Rest the joint – avoid activities that cause pain
  • Ice the joint for 20 minutes every two to three hours – make sure the ice is wrapped up so it doesn’t touch your skin
  • Compress the joint with a bandage which is firm, but not tight
  • Elevate the joint above the level of the heart to reduce swelling

Medication such as paracetamol or ibuprofen may help.

You can help by maintaining a healthy weight, stretching muscles before and after physical exercise and ensuring that your technique during sport is correct.

Anyone who experiences pain and swelling in one or more joints should discuss this with their doctor. If you have chronic joint pain and swelling, your doctor will be able to assess your situation. You may need x-rays, blood tests and perhaps other scans. In some cases, the doctor may want to look inside the joint with an arthroscope.

Your doctor will provide a plan of treatment, including exercise and appropriate medicines. The best types of exercises are gentle to your joints – they include swimming, aqua aerobics, tai chi, cycling or walking.

You might consider using a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine to reduce joint pain.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your joint pain and swelling, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).



Sources:

NHS (Treating sports injuries)

Last reviewed: August 2017

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Joint pain (Arthralgia) | myVMC

Joint Pain: Medical information about causes of joint pain and the treatment and diagnosis of joint painwritten by Health Professionals.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Gout

Gout is a common form of arthritis. Gout is caused by a build-up of a waste product, uric acid, in the bloodstream.

Read more on Queensland Health website

Hands and arthritis

This sheet has been written for people whose hands are affected by arthritis. It provides general information about ways you can look after your hands and manage your symptoms. It also tells you where to find further information and advice.

Read more on Arthritis Australia website

Gout and diet | Arthritis Australia

How is gout affected by diet? Gout is a type of arthritis that is associated with elevated levels of uric acid in the blood. High levels of uric acid can cause crystals to form in the joints, causing pain and swelling. Uric acid is a normal waste product formed from the breakdown of food, particularly compounds called

Read more on Arthritis Australia website

Gout - Better Health Channel

While most other types of arthritis develop slowly, an attack of gout happens suddenly, often overnight.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Juvenile Chronic Arthritis) | myVMC

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) refers to a group of diseases causing chronic (lasting longer than 6 weeks) joint pain and swelling in children

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Gout | Arthritis Australia

What is gout? Gout is a common and painful condition that affects the joints. Small crystals form in and around the joint, causing inflammation, pain and swelling. These crystals are made of one of the body's normal waste products, uric acid. Normally the body rids itself of extra uric acid through the kidneys into the

Read more on Arthritis Australia website

Familial Mediterranean fever (children) | Arthritis Australia

What is FMF? Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is a disease that results in episodes of fever, abdominal pain, chest pain, joint pain and rashes. It is most common in people of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern ancestry, but can occur in people of any ethnicity. What causes FMF? FMF is an inherited genetic disease,

Read more on Arthritis Australia website

Rheumatoid Arthritis | myVMC

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition which make hand, feet and other joints painful and stiff. It usually begins at 30-50 years.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Learn about gout, symptoms & treatment - MSK

What is gout? Understand more about your musculoskeletal condition, how you can manage, where to find support & how MSK can help you.

Read more on Musculoskeletal Australia website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback