Hypothyroidism is a medical condition that causes the thyroid gland to produce insufficient amounts of crucial hormones. These hormones help regulate a variety of bodily functions. When the thyroid gland does not produce enough of them, a cascade of symptoms including obesity, heart disease, constipation, fatigue, thinning hair, depression, and infertility can happen.
However, hypothyroidism doesn’t just stop there. Many patients also experience joint pain, such as in the knees, but they’re unaware that it’s a symptom of the disorder.
Hypothyroidism and Joint Pain
Hypothyroidism causes joint pain because of the imbalance of hormones it brings about. The haywire hormones cause muscle weakness and excess protein deposits.
Symptoms include tired, aching, and cramping muscles, and rarely, a breakdown of muscle tissue. Patients notice weak or painful muscles when doing activities like climbing stairs or lifting their arms above their heads. While the exact cause for muscle weakness and hypothyroidism is unclear, some experts say that a thyroxine deficiency leads to an abnormal metabolism that affects muscle health. Additionally, individuals with hypothyroidism also experience higher creatinine levels (muscle enzyme) in their bodies. High creatinine can increase injury to muscles when they are strained or pressured.
Excess Protein Deposits
Joint pain is associated with hypothyroidism because an under-active thyroid gland causes excessive protein deposits in tissue. The pituitary gland releases a thyroid-stimulating hormone in patients with hypothyroidism, which can cause an excess release of proteins. Because of the protein deposits, the joints thicken while the bones at the joint grow thinner. The knee, ankle, foot, and hand joints are the most common places where patients with hypothyroidism experience this.
How to Manage Joint Pain
If you have hypothyroidism and experience joint pain including knee pain, you can do many things to control your pain:
Building healthy muscle, such as in your legs, is a great way to keep joints like knees from hurting. Muscles take the pressure off your joints, so you experience less aches and pain.
A healthy diet is essential for a healthy weight, so that your body doesn’t need to work extra hard to function and your knee joints get some relief. You can reduce junk foods and add healthier foods like vegetables and fruits. Be sure to also eat foods that are rich in antioxidants, proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids, because they can help reduce inflammation in your muscles and joints.
Another way to control your knee pain is to control your hypothyroidism. An uncontrolled thyroid condition can make every symptom associated with hypothyroidism worse, including joint pain and muscle weakness. If you have hypothyroidism or another condition that is causing joint pain, it’s essential to have a reliable and experienced orthopedic physician in your health care team.
Orthopedic Expertise in Little Rock
Dr. William Hefley is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with a wealth of knowledge and experience treating a variety of orthopedic conditions like joint pain.
Call (800) 336-2412 to make an appointment today. You can also request an appointment online.