Is All Joint Pain Arthritis?

Is All Joint Pain Arthritis?

If you’re noticing pain in one of your joints, you naturally want to fix it, so you must figure out what’s causing your discomfort.

To determine the cause, start by looking at the symptoms. Your pain may be constant, or it may come and go. Your joint may feel stiff, achy, or sore, and you may experience a throbbing or grating sensation as you move that joint. Sometimes, the joint may feel stiff in the morning and loosen up throughout the day. Other times, the activity might worsen the pain as the day progresses.

Whatever your symptoms are, if the pain is affecting the function of your joint and quality of life, it’s time to find the cause — and the treatment. 

Your mind may naturally turn to arthritis. But while arthritis is the leading cause of joint pain (it affects 58.5 million adults in the United States), it’s not the only cause. Several other conditions may also be responsible for your pain.

Here are some of the most common causes of joint pain our team commonly sees at Physicians Medical Primary Care:


Arthritis includes a wide range of conditions; the most common is osteoarthritis, where the cartilage (the protective cushion between your bones) wears away. This leaves bones to rub against each other as the joint becomes stiff and painful.


If you have gout, uric acid builds up in your body. It can leak into your joints, forming crystals that cause pain and swelling. This often occurs in the big toe, hand, wrist, or knee.


Bursitis occurs near joints that perform frequent, repetitive motions (such as the shoulder) when fluid-filled sacs (called bursae) become inflamed, causing achiness, stiffness, and pain.


Tendons are the thick bands of fibrous tissue that attach your muscles to your bones. If these tendons, which attach near the joints, become inflamed, they can cause your entire joint to hurt.


This auto-immune disease causes inflammation when your body begins attacking its own tissues. This can cause your joints to become swollen, stiff, and painful.


Trauma to your joint can cause pain as well. Injuries such as sprained ankles, broken bones, or torn ligaments could be the source of your discomfort.

If you need to find out more about what’s causing your joint pain — and how you can treat it — our team at Physicians Medical Primary Care is eager to help. Call one of our San Jose offices to make an appointment, or use our online scheduler today!

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