The Most Common Causes of Joint Pain

The human body contains more than 200 bones, many of which are connected by joints. From the tiny joints in your fingers to much larger ones like your hips and knees, joints are complex structures that can succumb to all manner of problems that lead to pain.

At Boston PainCare, our team of pain management specialists understands the complexities of human joints and the many conditions that can cause joint pain. More importantly, we offer the latest, cutting-edge treatments for joint pain, restoring pain-free movement to your life.

While there are dozens of conditions that can lead to nagging joint pain, we outline the most common ones here: arthritis, injury, overuse, and systemic diseases.


Far and away, the leading driver of joint pain is arthritis, which is the most common cause of disability among adults in the United States. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, which is a catchall term for any condition that causes pain, stiffness, and inflammation in your joints. 

Of the many forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis leads the charge in terms of numbers. Approximately 31 million people have osteoarthritis, and this number is expected to rise considerably as the US population ages. 

Osteoarthritis is a progressive and degenerative condition in which the cartilage in your joints begins to break down, leaving your bones to rub together painfully.

Another common form of arthritis is inflammatory arthritis, which includes rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis. These conditions develop when your immune system mistakenly attacks your joints, causing inflammation and pain.

Arthritis can also come on the heels of an infection or as a result of metabolic issues, as is the case with gout.

The bottom line is that arthritis in all its many forms affects 54 million American adults, though this number is conservative and is expected to rise to more than 78 million by 2040.


Injury is also a common cause of joint pain. Whether you tweak your ankle playing sports or you dislocate your shoulder, an acute injury can cause considerable joint pain. Unfortunately, any injury to your joints may also set you up for early arthritis in that joint, further compounding the problem.


While acute injuries are responsible for a fair amount of joint pain, they’re only half the story. Many joint injuries stem from overuse and repeated stresses, such as carpal tunnel syndrome in your wrist or tennis elbow. If you overstress a joint, you can develop tiny tears in your connective tissue, namely your tendons, which leads to tendonitis. The bursa sacs in your joint can also become inflamed after repeated stresses, leading to bursitis.

Systemic diseases

Further causes of joint pain include systemic disease, such as lupus, fibromyalgia, and Lyme disease. While some medical experts list these conditions under arthritis, as they can have the same effect on your joints, they’re worth singling out as common causes of joint pain.

Tackling joint pain

However you arrive at joint pain, our goal is to alleviate the pain to restore your quality of life. We offer innovative pain management treatments that enable you to move without pain, including:

Rest assured, we have extensive experience helping our patients overcome debilitating joint pain, and we work with you until you’re pain-free. Simply contact one of our offices in Waltham, Concord, and Natick, Massachusetts, to get started.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What Does a Sleep Study Reveal?

If you stay up all night, you know exactly why you’re tired the next day. But if you think you get a full night’s rest and still can’t explain your fatigue and other symptoms, you may have a sleep disorder. Here’s what a sleep study can tell you.

Can Weather Changes Trigger Migraines?

No one knows for sure what causes migraines, but weather changes seem to trigger the mega headaches in some people. You can’t control the weather, but you can take steps to fight migraines.