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Why Do My Joints Hurt?

Updated on December 14, 2015

There are many possible reasons why your joints hurt. It could be as simple as excessive physical activity, like strenuous exercise or physical labor, which puts stress on muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints and irritates them. If the activity is rugged enough, an injury like strains, sprains and even dislocations of the joints can occur and cause pain.

However, there are also various conditions that bring about pain in the joints. Here we will explore what these conditions are and why they cause joint pain. Of course, it is always best to consult a medical professional if you are having physical issues.


Osteoarthritis is a condition associated with old age and stiffness and pain in the joints. Typically it occurs due to overuse of the joints and can cause pain in the hand, wrist, back, neck, knee and hip. Injury and obesity, along with age, can cause Osteoarthritis.


Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic and long term condition that causes inflammation and pain in the joints and can occur intermittently with remissions and long periods of flare-ups that can last at least months at a time. It is marked by stiffness, swelling, pain, redness and warmth in the areas affected; which is mostly the hands, both of them; this is another characteristic of Rheumatoid Arthritis, the pain will occur in the same body part on both sides of the body. The sufferer will likely experience fatigue, feel ill, lose their appetite and have muscle aches. Nodules might also form which are bumps under the skin, typically at the elbow. It is possible for Rheumatoid Arthritis to affect the heart and lungs too and even the joint in the voice box.

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Bursitis occurs when there is inflammation and irritation of the Bursa, which is a sac with fluid that lubricates moving tissues (between bones, muscles, joints, tendons and skin) to prevent rubbing and irritation of the bones and joints. Bursitis is caused by repetitive use of the joints or injury.


Gout is a type of Arthritis that involves a sudden burning pain, stiffness and inflammation of joints, typically in the big toe. It occurs when there is too much Uric Acid in the blood, caused by eating too much fish or meat which contain high amounts of Purines. Crystals form on the joints causing pain.

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In more than 90 percent of the cases of Lupus, people report having joint pain. Since Lupus is an inflammatory condition, it can definitely cause joint pain.

In fact, a person with Lupus can develop what is called Lupus Arthritis. Lupus Arthritis pain occurs in joints that are farthest from the middle of the body: The fingers, the wrists, elbows, knees, ankles and toes. It is characterized by stiffness when getting up in the morning but easing of the pain later in the day. Like Rheumatism, it affects both sides of the body equally. However it is less debilitating and will not generally cause deformities like Rheumatoid Arthritis will.

Lupus can also cause Tendinitis and Bursitis because of it's tendency to cause inflammation in the Synovial Membrane that surrounds tendons and Bursas.

Since Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by a problem in the nerve in the wrist, Lupus' tendency to put pressure on nerves due to inflammation can aggravate and cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome too.


Since Fibromyalgia affects the muscles and tendons around joints, many people who suffer from the disease feel like they are having joint pain. However, the condition does not actually damage joints like Rheumatoid Arthritis does.

Conditions that Might Cause Joint Pain

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Age and overuse of joints cause this condition, as well as obesity and anything that puts pressure on joints.
This disease is marked by inflammation of affected areas and is long-term though may come and go.
Caused by inflammation and aggravation of the Bursa, a sac of lubrication that keeps joints from getting irritated.
Gout is caused by too much Uric Acid in the blood which causes crystals to form on bones.

These conditions are marked by inflammation inside joints which irritates nerve endings and cause pain. If cartilage, and other protective material, becomes worn, the bone underneath it can wear down and also cause pain. Basically, pressure on the joints can cause joint pain, including the pressure of obesity and strenuous physical activity over extended periods or heavy impacts that cause injury.

Of course, if the pain is severe and long-lasting, it is advisable to see a doctor.


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