10 Common Causes of Joint Pain


Joint pain is a common physical ailment. It is either acute or chronic and ranges from mild to severe. There are numerous causes of joint pain. Ten common causes include the following:

1. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative inflammatory condition, resulting from the breakdown of cartilage that cushions the joints. It occurs with age (usually over the age of 40) and causes joint stiffness and pain. Joints in the hands, wrists, knees and hips are most commonly affected.

2. Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation in the joints. The immune system mistakenly attacks the linings of the joints, causing inflammation, swelling and pain. Over time, the joints may become deformed.

3. Sprains and strains

Sprains and strains are types of joint injuries. They cause pain, inflammation and may be severe enough to prevent the use of the joint. A sprain is an extreme stretching or tearing of a ligament. A strain is a stretching or tearing of a tendon or muscle.

4. Bursitis

Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa(e). The bursae are fluid-filled sacs located throughout the body that serve as cushions between bones and soft tissues (muscles, tendons, skin). It most commonly develops in joints where repetitive motions occur like the shoulder, knee or elbow. Symptoms of bursitis include joint pain, swelling, warmth, redness, stiffness and limited mobility.

5. Viral infections

Certain viruses, such as mumps, influenza (flu) and hepatitis can cause joint pain, especially when accompanied by a fever.

6. Tendinitis

Tendinitis is an aggravation and inflammation of tendons (fibrous bands of tissue that join muscles to bones). Symptoms include pain and tenderness. It is typically caused by repetitive activity and is most common in the shoulder, elbow or heel.

7. Gout

Gout is a type of arthritis in which crystal deposits form in the joints, causing severe pain and swelling. It typically occurs in the big toe.

8. Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that can develop in people who have psoriasis, an autoimmune condition that causes patches of scaly, red skin to form. It causes common arthritis symptoms like pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints.

9. Fibromyalgia

Joint pain is merely one symptom of this complicated and often misunderstood condition. Fibromyalgia is thought to be the result of overactive nerves and causes unspecified pain.

10. Lupus

Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the body. The immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s tissues, causing swollen, stiff, painful joints.

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