If you experience discomfort every time you move your arm, wrist, finger, knee, or other joint, you’re not alone. Millions of people have to deal with joint pain on a near-constant basis, and it robs them of the ability to perform even the simplest tasks.
Here are some of the more common causes of joint pain. If you have any reason to believe you might have one of these conditions, get to a doctor, and take the steps needed to find relief.
Causes of Joint Pain
1. Ankylosing Spondylitis
This is one of the most troubling causes of stiff, achy joints. Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that usually affects the joints in the spine, but can damage other joints, as well. It typically results in inflammation of the vertebrae, or spinal joints, but it can also cause hip pain, shoulder pain, and even foot and hand pain. It can even affect the eyes, lung, and heart. Symptoms include stiffness and pain in the back and buttocks, appetite loss, and a mild fever. This discomfort gradually increases over time, and it tends to worsen in the mornings and at night.1
Osteoarthritis, or OA, is a form of arthritis that affects the bones. It is also known as degenerative arthritis, or degenerative joint disease. OA is one of the more common causes of bone pain, particularly knee pain and hip pain.2
Osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage that cushions your bones, causing severe discomfort and substantial swelling. Symptoms can include a limited range of motion, joint swelling, stiffness, and a grating sensation when moving a joint, particularly in the knee.3
3. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is another common cause of sore, painful joints. RA is an autoimmune disorder that develops when your body’s immune system attacks your tissues, mistaking them for dangerous invaders. This leads to inflammation that can result in major damage.
Not only does rheumatoid arthritis affect your joints, the inflammation can also damage other parts of your body, such as your kidneys, lungs, and heart. Symptoms of RA include tender, swollen joints, as well as joint stiffness. RA tends to affect the smaller joints at first, including those in your fingers and toes. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis can result in severe knee pain and hip pain, as well as pain in your wrists, shoulders, elbows, and ankles.4
4. Bone Infection
Bone infections aren’t among the most common cause of joint pain, but they are serious, and particularly painful. A bone infection, known as osteomyelitis, occurs when some sort of skin wound allows bacteria and other harmful microbes into bone tissue. This can lead to infections in other areas of your body as the microbes travel through your bloodstream. Common risk factors for a bone infection include a puncture wound, recent surgery, or a broken bone that has gone through the skin.5
Another common cause of joint aches is bursitis. This occurs when inflammation develops in the bursae, which are sacs filled with fluid. The bursae act as small shock absorbers for your joints. They help to cushion the area between bones and tendons, skin, and muscles.
Repetitive motions that involve the elbow and shoulder are among the causes of joint pain that affect people the most. But bursitis can affect other joints, as well, including your knee. Symptoms include severe discomfort and swelling.6
A specific form of bursitis, hip bursitis, is one of the more difficult joint problems to deal with. Hip bursitis happens when inflammation develops in one of your two hip bursae. Symptoms can include sharp, intense pain that will usually get worse when you lie on your side. This pain can also occur if you get up from a chair after being seated for an extended period of time.
Climbing stairs, squatting, and walking long distances can also worsen discomfort. Women, middle-aged people, and the elderly are at the greatest risk of developing this condition.7
Fibromyalgia is one of the most misunderstood causes of stiff, sore joints. It is complex disorder that results in not only joint pain, but discomfort throughout the entire body.
Fibromyalgia is one of the most troubling causes of joint pain, yet it’s not clear as to exactly why this condition occurs.
Research suggests that the nervous system may be involved in some way, but scientists aren’t sure how. There is also evidence that some people with certain genes may be at a higher risk of developing the condition. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include not only joint pain, but also severe fatigue, trouble sleeping, difficulty with memory, headaches, pelvic pain, and jaw discomfort.8
7. Sprains and Strains
Sprains and strains are both among the most common – and frustrating – causes of joint pain. They might seem similar, but there are some important differences between the two. A strain occurs if you tear or stretch a tendon. A sprain, on the other hand, is an injury to your ligament. Symptoms of both include swelling, pain, and an inability to use the joint normally. Whether you suffer a sprain or strain, the time it takes to recover will depend on the severity of the injury.9
Common Causes of Joint Pain: Wrapping it Up
As you can see, different people are affected by joint pain in different ways. And for some people, these conditions can result in joint pain that gets so intense, it robs them of their quality of life.
If you have the slightest reason to believe you might be developing one of these conditions, get to your doctor as soon as you can. He or she can determine a plan of action that could help keep your condition from becoming worse.
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