Joint Pain

Joint Pain

Joint pain is discomfort that affects one or more joints in your body. A joint is where the ends of two or more of your bones come together. For example, your hip joint is where your thigh bone meets your pelvis. Joint discomfort is common and usually felt in your hands, feet, hips, knees or spine. Pain in your joints may be constant, or it can come and go. Sometimes, your joints can feel stiff, achy or sore. Some people complain of a burning, throbbing or “grating” sensation. In addition, your joints may feel stiff in the morning but loosen up and feel better with movement and activity. However, too much activity could make your pain worse. Joint pain may affect the function of your joints and can limit your ability to do basic tasks. Severe, painful joints can interfere with your quality of life. Treatment should focus not only on pain but on getting back to daily activities and living your life to the fullest.

What causes joint pain?

The most common causes of joint pain include:

  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis, a common type of arthritis, happens over time when your cartilage — the protective cushion between your bones — wears away. Your joints become painful and stiff. Osteoarthritis develops slowly and usually occurs after age 45.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): RA is a chronic disease that causes swelling and pain in your joints. Often, your joints deform (usually occurring in your fingers and wrists).
  • Gout: Gout is a painful condition where acidic crystals from your body collect in your joint, causing severe pain and swelling. This usually occurs in your big toe.
  • Bursitis: Overuse causes bursitis. It’s usually found in your hip, knee, elbow or shoulder.
  • Tendinitis: Tendinitis is inflammation of your tendons — the flexible bands that connect bone and muscle. It’s typically seen in your elbow, heel or shoulder. Overuse often causes it.

What are the risk factors for joint pain?

Joint pain tends to affect people who have:

  • Arthritis or other long-term (chronic) medical conditions.
  • Previous injuries to a joint.
  • Repeatedly used and/or overused a muscle.
  • Depression, anxiety and/or stress.
  • Overweight (having a BMI, or body mass index, greater than 25) or obesity (having a BMI greater than 30).