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What Are the Most Common Causes of Joint Pain?

If you experience joint pain, know that you’re not alone. Joint pain is one of the most common in adults across the country and it can happen for a variety of reasons in a variety of joints on your body. Here are some common causes of joint pain that you might be experiencing:

The Most Common Causes of Joint Pain 


Osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of joint pain with approximately 80% of adults 55 years and older experiencing this type of joint discomfort. Osteoarthritis can affect numerous joints including fingers, spine, hips, and knees. 

A variety of lifestyle and genetic factors can predispose someone to develop osteoarthritis, including overuse, sports injuries, and joint disorders. Additionally, post-menopausal women are among those most at risk of developing osteoarthritis, especially in their knees. People who are obese, diabetic, or have high cholesterol are also at increased risk. 

Because osteoarthritis is not simply ‘wear and tear' arthritis, the best step you can take to prevent developing this type of joint pain is to live a healthy lifestyle to control your modifiable risk factors such as responsible exercise and healthy eating.


Unlike osteoarthritis, bursitis is caused mainly by simple overuse of the joint. Typically, people who develop bursitis have a job or hobby that causes consistent stress in their joints, usually one specific one. 

Bursitis causes the bursa, a small, fluid-filled sac located around your joints, to swell and cause discomfort. 

With over 150 bursae in your body, joint pain caused by bursitis can occur almost anywhere, including the shoulders, elbows, knees, feet, hips, and buttocks. 

This form of joint pain can be brought on suddenly or slowly built up over time. To prevent bursitis, give yourself proper rest after performing repetitive tasks.


You may be surprised to learn that gout is classified as a form of arthritis and is caused by an excess of uric acid that causes crystals to form in the joints, most commonly in the big toe. 

Gout is typically associated with those who have consumed large amounts of alcohol for prolonged periods but there are other causes including obesity, congestive heart failure, diabetes, family history, hypertension, and kidney disease. 

In addition to significant alcohol consumption, those who are on diuretics (water pills) and have a diet that is high in animal protein are more susceptible to developing gout. 

Lifestyle Changes Can Help Prevent Gout

There are a few lifestyle changes that have been shown as the best prevention of gout: 

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit your consumption of purines such as alcohol, red meat and organ meats, shellfish, gravy, foods and drinks high in fructose, and animal proteins.


Tendinitis, similar to bursitis, is a common form of joint pain people experience that complete repetitive motions in their job or hobbies. Tendons connect bone to muscle and therefore are found throughout the body. 

The most common body parts in which people experience this form of joint pain include the base of the thumb, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, and Achilles tendon. 

To avoid developing tendinitis take frequent breaks, learn and practice good posture, reach and grab for items you want to pick up in line with your body and stop any activity that causes you pain.

Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic form of joint pain that affects joints on both sides of the body. The parallel nature of this type of joint pain is what helps distinguish it from other types of arthritis during diagnosis. 

Rheumatoid arthritis is considered an autoimmune disease thought to be caused by a combination of genetics, abnormal immunity, environmental factors, and hormones. Smoking is the largest risk factor for this type of joint pain. Quitting smoking is not only a preventative measure but may also help alleviate joint pain symptoms in those with rheumatism. 

Depending on the type of medication prescribed to control the pain, alcohol should be consumed in moderation and discussed with your doctor.

If you have questions or concerns related to joint pain or one of these major causes of it, contact Kent Hospital today to schedule an appointment to discuss diagnosis and treatment options.

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