Joint diseases affect the health and function of a joint. Some common joint diseases include osteoarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.

Joint diseases include conditions affecting the joints, bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and surrounding muscles.

They may cause pain, swelling, and reduced range of motion.

This article looks at some common joint diseases and disorders.

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Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease and the most common type of arthritis. Degenerative joint and bone diseases are conditions in which gradual changes occur to the joints and bones, which worsen over time.

Osteoarthritis involves a slow breakdown of cartilage within a joint, which causes pain, inflammation, swelling, and reduced range of motion around a joint.

Experts are still not sure if the inflammation from osteoarthritis is a response to the cartilage breakdown or if the inflammation happens beforehand.

There are also genetic predispositions due to certain cartilage genes, and severe osteoarthritis can run in families.

Treatments that can help manage osteoarthritis include physical activity, weight loss, medications, and physical therapy.

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Learn more about osteoarthritis and its treatment.

Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa. The bursa are fluid-filled sacs that work as a cushion to reduce friction between bones and soft tissues.

Although not technically a joint disease, bursitis can affect a person’s joints by causing inflammation and reduced mobility.

Repetitive motions or extended pressure — such as kneeling for long periods — may cause bursitis. Symptoms include pain near a joint, swelling, and tenderness.

Treatments may include braces and splints, medications, and physical therapy.

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that occurs from a buildup of uric acid. Uric acid causes sharp crystals to form around joints, which causes pain and inflammation.

People may experience a gout flare, which can last for 1–2 weeks and then resolve. Gout commonly first affects the big toe but can occur in any joint.

Treatment for gout may include dietary and lifestyle changes, medications, and treating any underlying health conditions.

Learn about home remedies and treatments for gout here.

Rheumatic disorders are conditions that affect the joints, tendons, muscles, ligaments, and bones.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition. It can affect multiple joints and cause pain, swelling, and inflammation. Low-impact exercise and strength training may help to manage rheumatoid arthritis.

Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis. Inflammation of the joints and ligaments within the spine can cause stiffness and may result in the vertebrae fusing together.

Ankylosing spondylitis can cause intermittent back pain and stiffness. Exercise and medications may help to manage the condition.

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Learn more about rheumatic disorders and their treatments.

Although not a disease, injuries can cause joint pain and inflammation. Overuse injuries, such as tendonitis, may occur from repetitive motions on a joint.

Tendonitis is an inflammation of a tendon or the sheath which covers a tendon. People can have pain and swelling, which may worsen with physical activity. Tendonitis commonly affects athletes.

Other injuries that can cause joint pain include strains and sprains, dislocations, and bone fractures or breaks.

Some other diseases can affect the joints indirectly, causing joint pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.


Lupus is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks tissues and organs in the body. It can cause joint pain and stiffness.

Sjögren’s disease

Sjögren’s is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks healthy tissues in the body.

Symptoms may include:


Fibromyalgia is a rheumatic disorder that causes widespread pain throughout the body.

People may experience pain and stiffness, and it can affect the jaw joint.

This section answers some common questions about joint diseases.

What are some common diseases of the joints?

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and affects more than 32.5 million adults in the United States.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of autoimmune arthritis, while gout is the most common form of inflammatory joint disease.

What diseases cause all your joints to hurt?

Fibromyalgia can cause widespread pain throughout the body, including in the joints, soft tissues, and muscles.

Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause pain in multiple joints at the same time.

Joint diseases and disorders include arthritis, autoimmune conditions, and injuries.

Treatment will depend on the underlying cause but may include rest, medications, and physical therapy.