Different causes of joint pain include (but are not limited to): arthritis, which covers about 100 different joint inflammation diseases the most common of which are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile arthritis; tendonitis, which is inflammation of a tendon which is the thick fibrous cord that attaches muscle to bone; sprains, which are an injury to a ligament; and bursitis, when the fluid-filled sacs around joints, called bursae, are irritated and inflamed.
Joint pain frequently responds to rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). Severe pain, visual misalignment, or inability to put pressure on the joint means it needs a doctor’s attention. Usually an imaging study, like an X-ray or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), is needed to understand the scope of the problem. Sometimes other tests may be needed if the doctor suspects an underlying condition.
Treatments vary according to the cause of the joint pain. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories are often enough to ease discomfort. Oral or injectable steroids may be used to reduce pain and inflammation as well. Physical therapy may be prescribed to strengthen surrounding tissues and increase flexibility. In some cases, surgery is needed.Previous Page Last Review Date: January 5, 2018