5 Common Reasons for Joint Pain and Symptoms to Look out For

According to the CDC, about one in four adults, or 15 million people, report experiencing severe joint pain.

Joints, which are located where two bones meet, allow bones throughout your body to move. Joint pain and discomfort in your knees, elbows, hips, and shoulders can impact your mobility. In most cases, joint pain is the result of an illness like arthritis or injury.

However, there are numerous reasons for joint pain. By recognizing the common causes and symptoms of joint pain, you can visit a medical professional to get the help you need. Otherwise, you could unnecessarily live your life in pain.

Improve your quality of life by first, discovering the top joint pain causes that may be affecting you.

1. Arthritis

Were you in a sports accident or car crash? Maybe old age is causing wear and tear throughout your body. Regardless of the reasons for joint pain, discomfort can impact your daily function.

One of the top reasons for joint pain is arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA).

Recognizing the cause for your joint pain can ensure you receive the proper treatment.


OA is considered the most common joint disorder in the US. About 10% of men and 13% of women over the age of 60 have symptomatic knee OA.

OA tends to affect the joints you use daily, including your hands, wrists, knees, and hips. This condition occurs when the cartilage that cushions and absorbs shock begins to wear down.

Osteoarthritis occurs as joint damage accumulates over time. One of the main causes of OA is aging.

Past injuries can also cause OA. For example, you might have a previously dislocated joint, torn cartilage, or a ligament injury. When the injury doesn’t heal properly, it can contribute to joint damage.

Poor posture and obesity can also contribute to OA.

Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Common OA symptoms include:

  • Inflammation
  • Stiffness
  • Tenderness
  • Pain

As your OA develops, your pain will become more intense. You might also notice swelling around your joints.

It’s important to recognize the early symptoms of OA as soon as possible. That way, you can learn how to manage your symptom and minimize your pain.

The earliest signs of OA include pain and tenderness. For example, you might experience pain when trying to open a jar of sauce.

Joint stiffness is most common when you first wake up. You might also experience stiffness after sitting at a desk for long periods of time. Other early signs include abnormal sensations, such as grating of the joints.

Your joints might click or crack with movement. Loss of flexibility when bending your joints is common as well.

Make sure to speak with your doctor if you experience these early symptoms of OA.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA, on the other hand, can deform your joints over time. Rheumatoid arthritis commonly causes pain and inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s response to illness and injury.

Too much inflammation over an extended period of time, however, can cause chronic pain and certain health conditions.

In time, RA can also cause fluid to build up in your joints. This occurs as your body’s immune system behinds to attack the membrane lining your joints.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

RA symptoms occur in flares. You might also experience periods of remission when your symptoms disappear for a long period of time.

The most common symptoms of RA include joint:

  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Pain

You might also lose joint function or experience deformities.

As with OA, it’s important to recognize the early signs of RA as soon as possible to begin treatment. Common early signs include fatigue and stiffness in the morning. You might also experience fever, numbness, tingling, or a limited range of motion.

2. Osteoporosis

Over 200 million people suffer from osteoporosis. That includes 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50. This condition causes spaces inside of your bones to increase.

As a result, your bones will begin to lose their strength and density. The outside of your bones will also begin to thin and grow weaker in time.

Patients with osteoporosis are prone to fractures or bone brakes. As one of the most common reasons for joint pain, it’s important to start treatment before you experience a fracture.

Osteoporosis Symptoms

Not all patients experience symptoms during the early stages of osteoporosis. If you do experience symptoms, you might first notice a receding gumline.

Your grip strength will begin to weaken. Meanwhile, your nails will weaken and appear brittle as well.

Does your family have a history of osteoporosis? It can help to speak with your doctor about your risk of osteoporosis. They’ll help you manage your symptoms with an osteoporosis-based diet and exercises for improving bone strength.

3. Tendinitis

Tendons are the cords that connect muscles to bones. However, your tendons can become inflamed, which leads to tendinitis. As a result, you might find it’s difficult to move your joints.

Tendinitis is often caused by repetitive motion (from work or playing a sport). You can also develop tendonitis from old age, injury, or RA.

Tendinitis Symptoms

If you have tendinitis, you might experience tightness, swelling, or a dull ache around the joint.

Make sure to use the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation) until you can see a doctor.

4. Lupus

Lupus is an auto-immune condition that causes inflammation.

There’s currently no known cure for lupus. While lupus can affect different parts of your body, it can also cause inflammation in your joints.

Lupus Symptoms

Common symptoms of lupus include:

  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Rashes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Memory loss
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • High fever

The inflammation caused by lupus can cause lung, blood, and kidney complications. Make sure to speak with your doctor before symptoms get worse.

5. Bursitis

Bursitis is a condition that causes inflammation in the fluid-filled sacs around your joints (bursae). When your bursae are inflamed, it can cause pain, discomfort, and limited mobility.

Sports-related activities, an infection, or repeated bending can lead to bursitis.

Bursitis Symptoms

If you’re asking “why do my joints hurt?” make sure to look out for these symptoms of bursitis:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Difficulty bending your arm or leg
  • Difficulty walking
  • Pain when lying on your hip

Let your doctor know you’re experiencing these symptoms along with joint pain.

Discuss These 5 Common Reasons for Joint Pain With Your Doctor

Don’t let these common reasons for joint pain slow you down. Instead, discuss these symptoms with your doctor and get the information and treatment you deserve. They can determine if your joint pain is associated with another condition.

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