Joint and osteoarthritic pain: Causes
Understand joint pain and osteoarthritis
Joint pain may be acute or chronic and be associated with a multitude of possible aetiologies.1–3
Here we review some of the potential causes of pain emanating from joint tissues.
Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of worsening joint pain4,5
Osteoarthritis is characterised by structural changes within the whole joint – as caused by a multitude of pathogenic factors6–8
- Mechanical: changes in cartilage composition increase its susceptablility to force-induced erosions
- Metabolic: activation of cell-signalling pathways in response to damage leads to further joint degradation
- Inflammatory: metabolic activity initiates a proinflammatory response
This complex process ultimately leads to structural destruction and failure of the synovial joint.8
Other conditions may also cause joint pain
Aside from osteoarthritis, a range of conditions can cause joint pain. Acute joint pain, for example, may arise from soft-tissue injuries such as sprains and strains, or overuse injuries or infection.2,3,9 Chronic joint pain however, may be associated with conditions such as tendonitis, bursitis or various forms of arthritis.2–4,10
Soft-tissue injuries are a common cause of acute joint pain. These can include sprains occurring during sports, and overuse injuries.9
Risk factors for osteoarthritis
Certain risk factors for osteoarthritis are known
Although the exact cause of osteoarthritis is unknown, certain factors increase its risk:8,11–13
- Older age
- Being female
- Increased body weight (particularly affects the knees)
- Family history of osteoarthritis or bone abnormalities
- Socioeconomic status
- Injury or overuse of joints (e.g. in athletes)
- Previous joint trauma (particularly affects the knees)
- Muscle weakness
Understanding joint pain and osteoarthritis
Signs and symptoms
Explore an overview of how to recognise joint pain and osteoarthritis and know when to refer patients.
Overview of sprains and strains
Find out about how common sprains and strains are, and meet two patients with these problems.
Voltaren 12 hours Emulgel 2% for joint pain and osteoarthritis
Up to 12 hours of relief from joint pain.14
Patient care resources
Access a leaflet for your patients which can help them understand the causes of joint pain and how best to treat it.