Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.


Joint Warmth Overview

What is joint warmth?
A person with joint warmth has excessive warmth to the skin overlying the joint. Joint warmth may be caused by joint injury, arthritis, bursitis, septic arthritis, or cellulitis overlying a joint. Skin infections, arthritis, and bursitis are common causes of joint warmth.

What symptoms are associated with joint warmth?
Symptoms that can occur with joint warmth include joint pain, joint tenderness, joint stiffness, joint swelling, and joint redness. Symptoms that indicate a serious cause for joint warmth include severe joint pain, inability to move the joint, joint swelling, fever, and joint deformity.

How does the doctor diagnose joint warmth?
The doctor will often suspect the underlying cause for joint warmth after taking your history and performing an examination. Testing is often required to confirm the diagnosis. Commonly performed tests include blood tests such as uric acid, CBC, ESR, Lyme disease assay, and rheumatoid factor. Other tests include x-rays of the affected joints and in some cases, a MRI scan. If a joint is swollen, the doctor may obtain a sample of fluid from inside the joint by performing a procedure called arthrocentesis. Analysis of the fluid can provide information on the underlying cause for the arthritis and joint warmth.

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