What Causes Joint Pain?

Joint pain is incredibly common – it’s believed that at least one in ten people will suffer from the condition at some point in their lives, with most developing joint pain as they get older. It’s also notoriously difficult to treat, since there are a wide range of different causes, all of which require specific treatment methods to alleviate the symptoms.

Joint pain can occur in any part of the body, from the shoulders, arms and hands to the ankles and feet. However, the most commonly reported form of joint pain occurs in the knee, followed by the shoulder and then hip. More often than not, this has come about as a result of an injury or accident, whereby the bones, cartilage and ligaments within a joint or the bursae, ligaments or tendons surrounding it have become damaged.

However, not all joint pain is caused by injury. Here are some of the more common and less common causes which instigate this acute or chronic affliction.

Common causes of joint pain

  • Tendonitis – caused by repetitive exercise, such as running or jumping
  • Bursitis – warmth and redness surrounding the joint, exacerbated by movement
  • Osteoarthritis – perhaps the most common cause of joint pain in older patients
  • Gout or pseudogout – pain manifests itself in sudden, repeated attacks and the affected area becomes red and inflamed
  • Hemarthrosis – bleeding into the joint space normally occurs after an injury, but can be instigated by unknown factors
  • Lupus – caused by the immune system attacking healthy cells by mistake
  • Scleroderma – caused by the immune system attacking connective tissue right beneath the skin
  • Viral infections – viral hepatitis or rubella can cause joint pain

Less common causes of joint pain

  • Osgood-Schlatter’s disease – characterised by pain and swelling in and around the knee, most commonly affecting teenagers and young adults
  • Arthritis – less common kinds of arthritis include ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

Rare causes of joint pain

  • Avascular necrosis – crumbling of bones caused by insufficiency of blood
  • Behçet’s syndrome – inflammation of blood vessels
  • Bone cancer
  • Haemophilia – a hereditary condition which prevents the blood from clotting normally
  • Henoch-Schönlein purpura – inflammation of blood vessels, normally affecting children
  • Sarcoidosis – the development of small amounts of tissue inside the organs
  • Septic arthritis – an excruciatingly painful and noticeably swollen joint which does not allow movement at all
  • Tropical infections

Get diagnosed

As you can see, there are a myriad of causes which can bring about joint pain, with varying levels of seriousness and commonness. While chiropractors are more generally associated with the relief of back and neck pain, it may surprise you to know that they are also adept at joint and muscle treatment and can not only provide incisive diagnoses, but also bespoke treatment plans, as well. If you’re suffering from chronic joint pain which just won’t go away, see a specialist as soon as possible.