Joint Pain: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Associated Complications

It is a widespread problem with many possible causes, but it is usually the result of injury or arthritis.

In older people, joint pain is usually a sign of osteoarthritis. It can affect just one joint or many.


Joints are the parts of your body where your bones meet. Joints allow the bones of your skeleton to move. Joints include:

  • Back.
  • Hips
  • Elbows.
  • Knees.

Joint pain refers to discomfort and pain in any of the joints in the body. Joint pain is a common complaint. It usually does not require a hospital visit.

Joint pain and swelling can affect any joint in the body and are often accompanied by stiffness, aches, and a feeling of heat. Joint pain and inflammation can be acute or chronic.

Acute joint pain usually comes on quickly and lasts for a short time. Anyone experiencing pain and swelling in one or more joints should discuss this with their doctor. If you have chronic joint pain and inflammation, your doctor will be able to assess your condition.

What are the symptoms of joint pain?

Sometimes, your joint pain will require you to see a doctor. You should make an appointment if you do not know the cause of your joint pain and experience other unexplained symptoms.


You should also see a doctor if the area around the joint is swollen, red, tender, or hot to the touch, if pain persists for three days or more, or if you have a fever but no other signs of the flu.

Go to the emergency room if any of the following happen:

  • You have suffered a severe injury.
  • The joint appears deformed.
  • Joint swelling occurs suddenly.
  • The joint is completely immobile.
  • You have severe joint pain.

What Causes Joint Pain?

Sometimes joint pain is the result of illness or injury. Arthritis is also a common cause of joint pain. However, it can also be due to other conditions or factors.

What can cause joint pain in children?

Parents or caregivers may be concerned when a child complains of joint or leg pain.

Usually, the discomfort will simply be growing pains that will go away on their own. However, people should be aware of the signs and symptoms that may indicate something more serious.

Growing pains are a common cause of leg pain in children. These pains are muscle aches in the thighs, behind the knees, or in the calves.

Other possible causes of leg pain that can be more serious include juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), lupus, Lyme disease, and leukemia.

Growing pains

Research suggests that more than 30 percent of schoolchildren experience chronic musculoskeletal pain. In about half of these children, the pain is due to growing pains.

Growing pains often occur during a child’s preschool and preteen years and usually go away in the teens. These pains are harmless and are not a sign of a severe illness.

Growing pains usually occur in the thigh and calf muscles or behind the knees but can sometimes occur in the arms.

Children with this type of youth pain may experience cramps or pain that can range from mild to severe.

Characteristics of growing pains can include:

They are severe enough to wake a child from sleep in the afternoon or evening and typically resolve in the morning.

They usually affect both legs instead of one, occur intermittently or several nights in a row, and are often accompanied by headaches or abdominal pain.

People used to think that growing pains resulted from bones growing during growth spurts. However, doctors no longer believe this to be the case, as there is no evidence that the growth causes pain.

Growing pains can result from children running, jumping, and climbing while playing during the day.

Growing pains can also be related to other factors, such as fatigue, restless leg syndrome, low pain tolerance, or even vitamin D deficiency.


One of the most common causes of joint pain is arthritis. The two primary forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

According to the American College of Rheumatology, osteoarthritis is most common in adults over 40. It progresses slowly and tends to affect commonly used joints such as:

  • Dolls.
  • Hands.
  • Hips
  • Knees.

Joint pain due to osteoarthritis results from a cartilage breakdown that serves as a shock absorber and shock absorber for the joints.

The second form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, rheumatoid arthritis affects approximately 1.5 million Americans.

It affects women more commonly than men. Over time, it can deform and weaken the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis causes pain, inflammation, and fluid buildup in the joints as the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joints.

Joint pain in children can sometimes be a sign of a more serious underlying condition, including:

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis

If a child frequently complains of joint pain, juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) may be the cause.

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis can cause pain and swell in one or more joints. It can also affect a child’s movement or strength, unlike growing pains.

There are several different types of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and the symptoms can vary, so it can be difficult for a doctor to diagnose.

However, early diagnosis and treatment are vital because juvenile idiopathic arthritis can affect bone growth and lead to permanent complications.


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or lupus is an autoimmune disorder that can affect almost every body organ. Lupus is rare in young children but becomes more common in adolescence, especially in women.

Lupus causes many different symptoms, including:

  • Tiredness continues after rest, pain, swelling or stiffness in the joints, skin rashes, often in or around the nose, fever, and hair loss.

Lupus is a long-term condition, and symptoms can vary in severity. However, early diagnosis and treatment can improve the outlook.

Lyme’s disease

Insects called ticks can spread a bacterial infection known as Lyme disease. Ticks carry a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi that they pass to people when they bite them.

These ticks tend to live in green areas and forests in particular regions and feed on animals, such as mice and deer. Symptoms of Lyme disease include:

A circular rash around a tick bite, sometimes known as a bull’s eye rash, fatigue, fever or chills, joint or muscle pain, and facial paralysis.

Anyone living or spending time in an area where Lyme disease occurs can become infected, but children who spend much time playing outside are at higher risk.

To prevent Lyme disease, children should wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Parents or caregivers should also check the child’s entire body for tick bites after playing outside.

After a tick bite can take up to 3 weeks for the rash to appear. Joint pain can sometimes be the first and only symptom in children.

Early diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease are essential to prevent serious complications. Anyone who suspects an infected tick has bitten their child should see a doctor as soon as possible.


Leukemia is a cancer of the blood that begins within the bone marrow. It is the most common type of cancer in children. Leukemia can cause joint and bone pain, usually along with other symptoms.

Symptoms and their severity vary depending on the type of leukemia and can include:

Anemia, easy bruising or bleeding, recurrent or persistent infections and fevers, abdominal pain, swollen lymph nodes, and trouble breathing.

Treatment options and outlook also depend on the type of leukemia a doctor diagnoses in a child.

Other causes

Joint pain can be caused by:

  • Bursitis or inflammation of the cushioning pads around the joints, gout, certain infectious diseases such as mumps, influenza, and hepatitis, chondromalacia of the patella, or a collapse of the cartilage in the patella.
  • An injury, tendonitis or inflammation of the tendon, a bone infection, overuse of a joint, cancer, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, sarcoidosis, and rickets.

Do statins cause joint pain?

If you or someone you know is trying to lower your cholesterol, you have heard of statins. They are a type of prescription medicine that lowers blood cholesterol.

Statins reduce the production of cholesterol in the liver. This can prevent extra cholesterol from building up inside your arteries, leading to a heart attack or stroke.

A study involving three hospitals found that statins work better for people with a genetic predisposition to heart attacks.

The usual side effects

As with many people who take prescription drugs, some people who use statins experience side effects. About 25 million Americans take statins.

Between 5 and 18 percent of these people report muscle pain, a common side effect. Statins are more likely to cause muscle pain when taken in high doses or when taken in combination with certain medications.

Other reported side effects of statins include liver or digestive problems, high blood sugar, type 2 diabetes, and memory problems. Some people are more likely than others to suffer from these effects.

High-risk groups include women, people over 65, people with liver or kidney disease, and those who drink more than two alcoholic beverages daily.

What about joint pain?

Joint pain is considered a minor side effect of statin use, although it may not seem minor if you do.

There is little recent research on statins and joint pain. One case study suggested that statins that dissolve in fats, called lipophilic statins, are more likely to cause joint pain, but more research is needed.

While muscle pain and joint pain are separate issues, if you are taking statins and experiencing pain, it might be worth considering exactly where the pain is.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some drugs interact with statins to increase the number of statins in the bloodstream.

This is also true for grapefruit and grapefruit juices. In sporadic cases, rhabdomyolysis, a life-threatening condition, can occur.

Most people using statins will not have to worry about this condition, but you should talk to your doctor about aches and pains.

Statins have been shown to help prevent heart attack and stroke, especially in cases where those health problems are inherited.

However, statins are not the only way to lower cholesterol. Simple changes to your diet and increased exercise can make a difference.

If you are considering taking statins, consider losing weight and eating healthier. Eating more produce and less meat and replacing simple carbohydrates with complex ones can lower cholesterol.

Exercising four or more days a week for more than 30 minutes can also positively affect. Statins have been a vital health development but are not the only way to lower your heart attack and stroke chances.

How is joint pain diagnosed?

Your doctor will likely perform a physical exam. They will also ask you a series of questions about your joint pain. This can help reduce potential causes.

A joint X-ray may be necessary to identify joint damage related to arthritis. If your doctor suspects another cause, he or she may run a blood test to check for certain autoimmune disorders.

They can also perform a sedimentation rate test to measure the level of inflammation in the body or a complete blood count.

How is joint pain treated?

Your treatment options will depend on the cause of the pain. Sometimes, your doctor must remove the accumulated fluid in the common area. They may also recommend surgery to replace the joint.

Other non-surgical treatment methods could include lifestyle changes or medications that can potentially cause your rheumatoid arthritis to go into remission.

In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor will first treat the inflammation. Once rheumatoid arthritis is in remission, your medical treatment will focus on maintaining tight control over your condition to avoid flare-ups.

How to relieve growing pains in children

There is no specific treatment for growing pains. However, the following home remedies can help ease a child’s discomfort:

A lukewarm bath: Bathing in lukewarm water, especially before bedtime, can help reduce aches and pains and promote sleep.

Massage: Gently massaging or rubbing the affected area can make the child feel better. Simply holding or hugging the child can also help.

Extension: Gently stretching the calves and thighs during the day can relieve or prevent symptoms. However, stretching exercises can be challenging for younger children. Ask a doctor which types of exercises are best.

Heat – Try applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to the affected area. Make sure they are not too hot and take care to protect the child’s skin from burns. Do not wear these items during sleep.

Pain relieversOver-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve occasional aches and pains.

People should not give aspirin to children. Doctors do not recommend aspirin for children, as they linked it to a rare but serious condition called Reye’s syndrome.

Home treatment

Doctors consider both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis to be chronic conditions. Nothing can eliminate joint pain associated with arthritis or keep it from coming back. However, there are ways to manage pain:

Using topical pain relievers or taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may help reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation.

Stay physically active and follow an exercise program focusing on moderate exercise.

Stretch before exercising to maintain a good range of motion in your joints.

Keep your body weight within a healthy range. This will decrease stress on the joints.

Suppose your pain is not due to arthritis. In that case, you can try taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, getting a massage, taking a hot bath, stretching frequently, and getting plenty of rest.

What are the complications associated with joint pain?

Joint pain is often the result of damage from normal wear and tear. However, it can also signify infection or potentially debilitating rheumatoid arthritis.

You should see your doctor if you have unexplained joint pain, especially if it does not go away after a few days. Early detection and diagnosis can allow effective treatment of the underlying cause of your discomfort.

Reduce the risk of pain

There are many things you can do to reduce your risk of joint pain:

Familiar places of inflammation are the shoulders, elbows, wrist, fingers, hips, knees, ankles, neck, and upper / lower back.

There is no quick fix for the cause of joint pain. The goal here is to improve the quality of your life and reduce your symptoms.

Weight management and exercise

The most impactful treatment for joint pain is weight management and stimulation of weight loss to relieve physical pressure on the joints.

The importance of maintaining a healthy weight cannot be stressed enough for those with weight problems. For example, your knee absorbs five times the average load when climbing stairs.

Low-impact exercises such as swimming, cycling, or yoga can help strengthen the muscles around the joints, making them less prone to wear and tear.

Specific workouts like running can disproportionately impact the joints, leading to wear and tear.

Hydration and nutrition

Water helps you maintain adequate blood volume so nutrients can move through your blood and into your joints.

When you are dehydrated too often, your joint pain changes can increase.

It can help you feel full to avoid overeating and potentially help with constipation caused by lack of movement. Avoid inflammatory foods and incorporate more anti-inflammatory elements into your diet. Reduce or eliminate alcohol.

Eat less refined and processed carbohydrates. Include omega 3s such as fatty fish (salmon, trout, sardines, etc.), ground flaxseeds, soybeans, walnuts, and green leafy vegetables.

They contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that help joint inflammation.

Eat more vegetables packed with vitamin A which protects the body from harmful inflammatory compounds, and vitamin K, which helps direct calcium to the bones. Moreover, be sure to take a vitamin D supplement!

Footwear makes the difference.

High heels may look good, but heels over 2 inches can wear down your joints and increase your risk of joint degeneration and knee pain compared to flat or low-heeled shoes.

High heels put 30% more pressure on the knees and can accelerate the onset of arthritis.

Use of supplements

Given joint health, there is room here to support the use of supplements to help relieve joint pain and improve function.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Studies: In people with moderate to severe pain, those who took glucosamine and Chondroitin significantly reduced pain compared to those who took a placebo.

Chondroitin helped reduce that lost space in the joint to help stimulate cartilage growth and prevent the onset of osteoarthritis/joint pain.

Turmeric Studies: Supplementing with turmeric 500 mg twice daily has been shown to help reduce pain and increase functional movement in those with knee pain.

Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory properties to reduce inflammation that causes joint pain and swelling.

The best part about using turmeric is that it reduces non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (anti-inflammatory drugs), which can cause severe stomach and liver problems with high use.