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Symptoms and Signs of Joint Pain

Doctor's Notes on Joint Pain

Joint pain (arthralgia) can be caused by joint disease (such as types of arthritis) or injury of the tissues adjacent to the joint. Most joints consist of bones separated by cartilage that serves as a cushioning pad for the adjacent bones. Structures that surround the joint include ligaments that attach the bones to each other around the joint, bursae, which are fluid-filled sacs that help provide cushioning between the bones, and tendons that attach the muscles to the bones around the joint. Injury or disease to any of these structures can result in joint pain.

Pain is a symptom of joint inflammation (arthritis) and infection (for example, Lyme disease) and can occur with rare tumors of the joint. Joint pain may worsen with motion, pressure, or weight-bearing resistance with activity. Symptoms that may be associated with joint pain include joint stiffness, local warmth, swelling, and tenderness.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 1/2/2020


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.