Joint Pain

Joint Pain

Find meaningful pain relief with proven treatment plans

Joint Pain in Greater St. Louis. If crippling joint pain is keeping you from living the life you want to, the professional physical and occupational therapists of Axes PT will help you get back to the activities in St. Louis you love the most. Whether you have chronic pain, recently received a diagnosis, or sustained an injury, we’ll work with you as a team to come up with a proven, evidence-based treatment plan that is unique to you to help you return to your pain-free life. Our practice focuses on you, the client, and achieving positive, pain-free outcomes. If you want to get back to dominating your local softball league, or just want to pick up your grandchildren without pain, contact us online or find the most convenient location near you.

Joint pain is all too common for St. Louis residents. In the U.S., about one in four adults experience joint pain. While it can be severely debilitating, it doesn’t have to control your life. It is important to consult with a physician to see if physical therapy is right and safe for you. While no treatment is 100% effective for 100% of the population, physical therapy has shown widespread success for patients with joint pain. Contact Axes for safe, effective, and personalized treatment in St. Louis.

Understanding Joint Pain | St. Louis Physical Therapy

There are many different kinds of joints in human anatomy, but they all share the function of connecting bones together. There are three types of joints:

  1. Synarthrosis joints are immovable, meaning they connect bones but cannot move, for example the joints in your skull.
  2. Amphiarthrosis joints provide limited movement, for example the vertebrae of the spine.
  3. Diarthrosis joints, also called synovial joints, allow a wide range of movement. Examples are your wrist, shoulder, knee, and ankle.
    There are six types of synovial joints:

    1. Pivot, which allows rotation around one point
    2. Plane or gliding, which allows bones to glide over each other
    3. Hinge, which permits bending and straightening in a single direction
    4. Condyloid, which allows side to side and circular movements
    5. Saddle, which also allow for side to side and circular movements
    6. Ball-and-socket joints allow the greatest freedom of movement and including rotational mobility

A human adult has 206 bones which are connected by 360 joints. The majority of them are synovial joints, which are made up of:

  • Cartilage — This is a connective tissue that covers the surface of the joint. Its purpose is to act as a shock absorber.
  • Synovial membrane — This membrane lines the inner capsules of synovial joints and tendon sheaths. It makes synovial fluid, a thick liquid that acts as a lubricant and reduces friction between the joint and bone.
  • Ligaments — Ligaments are bands of tough connective tissues that connect two bones together and provide stability. For example, the ACL connects your thigh bone with your shin bone and prevents the tibia from moving too far forward.
  • Tendons — These are also tough connective tissue that attaches your bones to the muscles that control their movement.
  • Bursae — These are fluid-filled sacs between bones and surrounding tissues that act as a cushion and reduce friction as your tendons, ligaments, and muscles glide over your bones.
  • Joint Cavity — This is the space between bones that holds the cartilage and synovial membrane.

We feel pain because our brain is trying to tell us that something is wrong. When you experience joint pain, that means parts of the joint are injured, inflamed, or otherwise damaged to the extent that it affects the function of your joint and your brain wants you to know it needs attention. Proven, evidence-based physical therapy in St. Louis is often the best way to treat joint pain.

Joint Pain St. Louis | Arthritis Treatment | Physical Therapy Near Me

Common Causes of Joint Pain | St. Louis Physical Therapy

There are a number of conditions and factors that can lead to persistent joint pain. Those conditions can range in severity; some are not completely curable but symptoms can be slowed down and mitigated, other times joints can be made healthy in a matter of weeks. All of them, however, require a sound treatment plan and the guidance of a professional physical and occupational therapist in St. Louis like those at Axes. The most common causes of joint pain include:


Arthritis is a general term for several conditions that cause joint pain. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones breaks down. It typically occurs with old age, repeated trauma, or overuse.

Rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus are autoimmune diseases that attack the healthy tissues in your body.

While there is no cure for arthritis, pain and other symptoms can be managed with effective physical therapy by increasing flexibility and strengthening the muscles around the joint. In addition to physical therapy, treatment for arthritis often includes medication and, in some cases, surgery. The St. Louis physical therapists at Axes will form a team with you and your doctor to put together a customized treatment plan aimed at getting you back to the things you enjoy.


Bursitis causes joint pain when the bursae become inflamed and cannot cushion the joint as well. It can be caused by overuse, injury, repeated motions, or, in some rare cases, infection. It most commonly occurs in the shoulder, hip, elbow, and knee. Safe physical therapy treatments along with patient education can help prevent further trauma, maintain and rebuild strength and flexibility in the joint, and prevent future flare-ups. With the right treatment, bursitis can go away within a few weeks.


Tendinitis causes joint pain when the tendons connecting the bones and muscles become inflamed or irritated. It can happen with activities involving repetitive motions such as in painting or landscaping work. It can also be caused by a sudden sports injury. It’s most common in the shoulders, heels, elbows, and knees. Physical therapy will help safely strengthen and lengthen the tendon to prevent further injuries. If a tendon is ruptured, it may require surgery.

Sprains and Tears

Sprains occur when a ligament is stretched or torn due to falling, twisting, landing on uneven ground, or a blow to the joint. Tears are when a ligament, tendon, or muscle is ripped. While you may be able to recover from a sprain in a few weeks, tears usually require many months to recover from. Tears such as rotator cuff tears and ACL tears can be incredibly painful and profoundly impact your ability to perform daily tasks.

If you’re experiencing joint pain, take advantage of our free injury screenings with one of our joint pain experts in St. Louis. If your joint pain is severe enough to require surgery, we’ll work with you to create a personalized pre- and post-surgery rehabilitation plan.

Joint Pain St. Louis | Arthritis Treatment | Physical Therapy Near Me

How Physical Therapy in St. Louis Can Help Your Joint Pain

We treat each St. Louis client as an individual, so your specific treatment plan will be based on the cause and severity of your joint pain, your age, your occupational needs, and the lifestyle you want to get back to or achieve. We’ll work with you to show you safe and effective exercises that you can perform at home after your treatment plan is completed, so you can continue to find long-term pain relief and go on to enjoy optimal movement health.

While it may seem natural to avoid movements that cause joint pain, the truth is that by not moving affected joints, the pain and stiffness may only get worse. At Axes, our St. Louis physical and occupational therapists are pros; we know how to help you increase mobility and strength without causing further pain or damage. We can also help you learn how to reduce strain on joints with posture correction and other techniques.

Depending on the specifics of your joint pain, your treatment plan in St. Louis may include:

Joint Pain Management and Relief in St. Louis | Axes Physical Therapy

While joint pain, and any kind of pain, can take a physical toll, it can also affect us emotionally by keeping us away from the things we enjoy. At Axes PT, our entire team of licensed St. Louis occupational and physical therapists is dedicated to getting you back to the activities you love. We believe the best way to get our patients back to optimal health and a pain-free life is by working with them as a team and implementing treatment plans tailored specifically to them. Everything we do has been proven to be effective and is backed by science. If you’re finally ready to be free of your joint pain in St. Louis, contact Axes today or call the most convenient location for you.


Begin Your Recovery Today

Injuries and pain shouldn’t keep you from moving and doing the things you love.