Joints are the parts of your body where your bones meet. Joints allow the bones of your skeleton to move. Joints include:
Joint pain refers to discomfort, aches, and soreness in any of the body’s joints. Joint pain is a common complaint. It doesn’t typically require a hospital visit.
Sometimes, joint pain is the result of an illness or injury. Arthritis is also a common cause of joint pain. However, it can also be due to other conditions or factors.
One of the most common causes of joint pain is arthritis. The two main forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
OA is most common in adults over age 40. It progresses slowly and tends to affect commonly used joints like the:
Joint pain due to OA results from a breakdown of the cartilage that serves as a cushion and shock absorber for the joints.
It can deform and debilitate the joints over time. RA causes pain, inflammation, and fluid buildup in the joints as the body’s immune system attacks the membrane that lines the joints.
Joint pain can be caused by:
- bursitis, or inflammation of the cushioning pads around joints
- certain infectious diseases, such as mumps, influenza, and hepatitis
- chondromalacia of the patella, or a breakdown of the cartilage in the kneecap
- an injury
- tendinitis, or inflammation of the tendon
- an infection of the bone or joint
- overuse of a joint