Joints are the point at which bones meet together and provide areas of movement, and muscles attach across joints that allow them to facilitate that movement. With over 200 different joints in the human body, it is amazing how they work harmoniously with muscles to allow up to walk, talk, and carry out daily functions. 

Joint pain is a common condition experienced by a large portion of the population. There are many different causes of joint pain. This includes medical conditions like arthritis and gout, as well as environmental factors like overuse and repeated joint traumas. 

Below is a discussion of the different causes of joint pain as well as the ways in which they can be treated. 

While arthritis is the main culprit for joint pain, there are many other potential causes. Below is a breakdown of other non-arthritic causes of joint pain to rule out before turning to possible types of arthritis.


Tendonitis is the inflammation of the tendons surrounding the bone. Tendons are the pieces of tissue that connect the bones to the skeletal muscle. When these tissues become inflamed it can cause pain and discomfort. 

Tendonitis can actually be brought on by the stresses of arthritis you’ll see later in this article. In addition, tendonitis can be caused by repetitive movement and motions. 

Tendonitis is treated like any other muscle-related injury. The PRICE methodology which includes Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation all can be utilized for an inflamed tendon. 

To properly elevate a tendon injury or site of tendon inflammation, the use of a leg ramp can greatly improve stability and the amount of time you can keep it elevated.

Stress Injury

This cause is fairly self-explanatory as a joint injury can lead to possibly joint pain. In sports, this can include injuries that damage the ligaments in the joints as well as injuries surrounding the joint. Some of the most common joint pains experienced by a stress injury is the pain associated with vital ligaments in the knee.

Injuries to joints should be checked out by a doctor if mobility is greatly reduced. This could be a sign of ligament tears which might require surgical intervention. Without surgical intervention or the proper immobilization, it can lead to an insecure joint which can pose more problems like dislocation or further damage.

High Impact Activities

High impact activities may be fun, however too much-repeated exposure to high joint impact can result in premature wear of cartilage which can become painful if left untreated. 

High impact activities can include skiing, basketball, running, and more. Any time your leg makes hard contact with the ground, this energy is propagated through the leg and to the joint. These vibrations can result in joint injury and can ultimately lead to osteoarthritis. 

Joint injuries sustained from a history of high-impact activities can sadly not be cured. Once the damage to the cartilage is done the only thing an individual can do is to limit further damage and manage symptoms like pain and discomfort. Many also use braces to help stabilize and support the joint. 

Arthritic Causes

Arthritis is the inflammation of the joint. Arthritis comes in many different forms which can include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Lupus

There are many parts of a joint and as such there are many different causes of the inflammation and pain that can be experienced. Below is a breakdown of the different types of arthritis, what they are, and how they are treated. 


Osteoarthritis is arthritis that is caused by the gradual breakdown of the cartilage between the bones. Cartilage is the part of the joint that allows for cushioning between bones and allows for less friction as bones move past one another. 

Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that is typically acquired throughout a person’s life. The natural wear and tear from an active life or joint injury can cause the cartilage to slowly wear away. Osteoarthritis affects over 32.5 million U.S. adults according to the CDC making it a pretty common source for joint pain. 

Osteoarthritis has no known cure, but there are ways to help combat arthritis pain and osteoarthritis symptoms. This includes performing low impact exercise, living a healthy lifestyle, and physical therapy.

In addition to positive lifestyle changes, the utilization of over the counter topical pain relief creams can help reduce arthritic pain. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) differs from osteoarthritis in that RA is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the joints of the body. RA is typically an inherited chronic disease meaning that in most cases it is not completely preventable. 

The symptoms of RA include inflammation and pain experienced at the joints.

As with most kinds of arthritis, there is not a true cure that will completely resolve the issues for good. There are treatments available that seem to slow the progression of RA or treat the pain associated with arthritic pain.

If you have a family history of rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune diseases, it is important to relay this information to your primary care provider. If joint pain begins to develop, having a family history handy can allow a physician to make a faster diagnosis. When caught early, RA can be incredibly manageable. 

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that is present in those that have psoriasis. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that results in the body attacking healthy cells on the skin. This results in patches of red and silver scaly skin. 

Psoriatic arthritis has no cure, and like RA, psoriatic arthritis is a lifelong autoimmune disorder that will have occasional flare-ups. If an individual has a family history and has yet to be diagnosed, they can work to live the healthiest lifestyle possible to try to keep psoriasis at bay. Having a family history of psoriasis is not a guarantee you will have it, and by living a healthy lifestyle one could potentially minimize their chances of developing the disease.


Gout is a much different form of arthritis than those previously discussed. Gout is caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals within the joints.

Uric acid is the waste product of protein metabolism and typically exits the body through excretion. For those that suffer from gout, there is some bottlenecking in the uric acid disposal process that leads to an accumulation of uric acid in the blood. High concentrations of uric acid allow the compound to aggregate and form into crystals. These crystals can interfere with the normal functioning of joints.

Gout is one of the only forms of arthritis that can be fully cured. There are many treatment options available for gout but they all work by reducing uric acid levels in the blood. When the concentration of uric acid in the blood is low, the uric acid crystals in the joints will break down and provide relief from inflammation and the associated arthritic pain.


Lupus is another autoimmune disease that can result in arthritis and arthritic pain. Lupus is different from RA because lupus is an autoimmune disorder that affects nearly any tissue in the body, not just the joints. Not all cases of lupus result in joint pain, either.

Lupus-based arthritis presents itself much like rheumatoid arthritis and the two can frequently be misdiagnosed for the other. Because of this, many medical professionals will request a family history to help with the diagnosis.

Lupus is a disorder that has no cure. For treatment, people look for ways to reduce the effects of symptoms, reduce pain, and to reduce the frequency of flare-ups. This can be accomplished by living a healthy lifestyle, getting pain relief like Hempvana’s topical pain relief creams and gels, and potentially using immunosuppressants. 

Every lupus case is different and your rheumatologist will be able to select the right treatments for you. 


Overall, joint pain can be caused by a variety of issues, both arthritic and non-arthritic. Knowing the different causes of joint pain and the potential ways they are eased can help you figure out what you may be suffering from. 

With this knowledge, an individual can be better prepared if they are looking to go to a physician’s office concerning joint pain. They can also determine if they are able to do anything at home to try and help alleviate joint pain, such as using supportive braces or pain relief creams to help ease some discomfort.