Man experiences joint pain elbow pain

Joint Pain: Causes, Symptoms and Everything You Need to Know

Have aching joints got you making noises you never used to make when you stand up, bend down, or even just sit and watch tv? As we get older, joint pain becomes increasingly common. This is because the older we get, the more our joints have been used. Wear and tear on our joints can result in a number of diseases or injuries, which can leave our joints feeling achy and sore. Don’t fret. Not all joint pain is a sign of underlying disease. In some cases, aching joints are a result of... overuse, such as heavy physical activity, lack of use, or sprains.

Joint pain can range from mild to severe. Joint pain can affect any joint in the body, but the most commonly affected joints are the knees.1 Whether from inflammation or injury, we’ll walk you through everything there is to know about joint pain, joint pain symptoms, and joint pain causes so you can find relief, and get back to walking, hugging, standing, sitting, opening, closing, and just plain living with far less grumbles and groans over aching joints getting in your way.

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Symptoms of joint pain

While identifying aching joints can seem straightforward, there are a variety of symptoms associated with joint pain.

Symptoms of joint pain can range from mild to severe.

Symptoms of joint pain include:

  1. Joint redness
  2. Joint tenderness
  3. Warmth around the joint
  4. Swelling around the joint
  5. Locking of the joint
  6. Stiffness
  7. Weakness
  8. Loss of range of motion or the joint grating with motion (also called crepitus)2
A women with knee pain

Some symptoms of joint pain are more worrisome than others and should be assessed by a doctor, while others can be treated at home. 

Seek medical attention for these severe symptoms of joint pain:

  • If joint pain and swelling comes on suddenly
  • Your joint is completely locked and immobile
  • Your joint pain is accompanied by fever, but not other signs of the flu
  • Your joint appears deformed
  • Your joint pain lasts for more than seven days – or, if you have been using pain relief medication, the label will tell you how many days you can self-treat for, before you should see a doctor if the pain hasn’t gone away. 

Just about any joint in the body can be affected by joint pain. However, quite often joint pain strikes in the fingers, knees, ankles, wrists, hips and shoulders. Knee pain is the most common form of joint pain.3 This is largely because we put a lot of strain on our knees when we put our full bodyweight on them as we move from place to place throughout the day, every day.

Causes of joint pain

Joints form the connections between our bones and allow us to move. A number of conditions can cause joint pain such as:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Strains or sprains
  • Inflammation of the joint lining after injury


Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and a chronic condition that many adults experience, especially after 45 years of age4, 5. It is the result of reduced cartilage, which acts as a lubricant between the bones in your joints ensuring smooth, functional movements. When cartilage gets worn down, the bones in the joint rub against one another, causing pain, stiffness, and a diminished range of motion. Osteoarthritis occurs as a result of wear and tear on your joints over time.  Osteoarthritis is a condition that tends to develop over time, and can also result in painful flare ups. So, if you have joint pain in one or more joints that is getting steadily worse over time, speak with your doctor about the possibility that you may have osteoarthritis. 

Strains or sprains

Joint pain is often a result of injury. An accident like a fall can cause torn ligaments or ruptured tendons, which usually cause sudden and severe pain perhaps with a popping or snapping sound; and require immediate medical attention. Overuse can cause tendonitis (e.g. tennis elbow) which can present as pain in a joint tendon, that gets worse when you move: or difficulty moving, accompanied by swelling or heat. Sometimes banging or twisting a joint the wrong way can even result in damage to the cartilage in the joint, or even bleeding into the joint space. Such injuries are characterised by swelling, redness, bruising, and stiffness.6 If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Inflammation of the joint lining

All of our joints are protected by a thin layer of tissue called synovium. When a joint is injured, the synovium can become inflamed, which causes soreness and swelling. This usually happens shortly after you’ve injured your joint. Inflammation of the joint lining does not cause redness or heat and can generally be managed at home with rest and anti-inflammatories.7

A depiction of knee pain relief from Diclofenac and a Voltaren logo

Getting joint pain reliefAh. At long last. We’re ready for the relief part – as we’re sure you are, too. Here is a list of articles about how to get joint pain relief, whether from exercise, physical therapy, diet changes, or medication. And look forward to starting to experience the joy that movement can bring when you’re not held back by aching joints.

If you are experiencing severe joint pain visit a health care professional. Severe joint pain – the kind that gets in the way of your day-to-day activities – should not be ignored or self-treated. Call your doctor to make an appointment, and take the first step towards restoring movement with less pain.

Joint pain treatment


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Pain is rarely just physical nor is it always solved by taking medicine alone. Voltaren is your ally in helping you take more control of your pain journey, from the way to sleep, to what you eat, mental wellbeing and complementary pain relief therapies.