Illnesses With Joint Pain Symptoms

If you experience joint pain, it may be due to an injury or, possibly, an underlying illness. Symptoms of joint pain can cause mild to severe discomfort and may develop gradually if there is, in fact, any health-related condition present. There are several illnesses known to cause joint pain symptoms, including rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis and gout.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a known illness that can cause mild to severe pain in the joints, depending on the type and severity of the diagnoses. It causes erosion in the bones and joint deformity. According to the Mayo Clinic, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that results in the body attacking its own body tissue. This self-destruction mostly occurs in the hands and feet and may occur in women more than men. The Mayo Clinic notes that, although doctors are not entirely sure what exactly causes rheumatoid arthritis, they believe that genetics may play a big part in the likelihood of developing the illness. There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis; however, your doctor may prescribe medications to help lessen joint pain and the severity of the symptoms. Some common medications designed to treat rheumatoid arthritis are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroid medications and immunosuppressants.


Bursitis is another common illness known to cause pain in the joints and surrounding tissues. Bursitis occurs when the pads around a bone (bursae) and the tendons near the joints become inflamed. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) explains that bursitis commonly affects the shoulders, elbows and hips. You are more likely to develop bursitis in joints and muscles where you perform repetitive activities. Treatment for bursitis commonly includes resting the joints and muscles affected, so as to protect them from further aggravation. Pain may go away in the first few weeks but can show up again if the motion or activity is repeated. To prevent bursitis, the Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding elbow pressure whenever possible, taking breaks from repetitive tasks and using knee pads or cushioning to protect the knee joints from injury and excess pressure.


Gout is also known to cause joint pain and can develop when excessive uric acid builds up in the body. The NIAMS says that gout is one of the most painful types of arthritis. Buildup of uric acid can cause kidney stones, lumps under the skin (called tophi) and sharp, acid crystal deposits to set in near joints. For many people, the first gout experience occurs in the big toe. The big toe becomes swollen, red and very painful. Stressful events, drugs or another illness can cause a gout attack. Attacks that happen early on typically get better within three to 10 days without treatment. It may be months or years before your next attack. Dietary changes may be the best way to prevent a gout attack. The Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding or limiting alcohol intake; keeping your liquid intake high; limiting meat, fish and poultry; and maintaining a desirable body weight.

About this Author

Antonius Ortega is a 13-year veteran of the fitness industry and an athletic trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. His articles on fitness, health and travel have appeared in newspapers such as the “The Hornet,” “The Daily Bruin,” and “Stars and Stripes.” Ortega trains in Orange County.