Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Pain management health centre

Select a topic to explore more.
Select An Article

Joint pain

Joint pain can be due to wear-and-tear, injuries, infections or as a result of medical conditions.

Joint pain is common, and can be shot-term (acute) or long-term (chronic). It can also range from discomfort to intense pain.

It becomes more likely with age, and more than one joint may be affected.

Commonly affected joints are:

Health conditions causing joint pain include:

Diagnosis of joint pain

A doctor will diagnose joint pain based on symptoms, the person’s medical history and a discussion about possible causes, such as an accident.

A physical examination will usually be carried out and further tests may be arranged, such as X-rays to help assess the problem.

Tests may also be done to diagnose any underlying medical condition causing the joint pain.

Treating joint pain

Treatment may involve painkillers or anti-inflammatory treatments to reduce any swelling, but this will depend on the cause of the joint pain and individual circumstances.

In some cases, medication such as steroids may be injected directly into the joint.

Physiotherapy and a programme of exercises may be recommended, depending on the type of joint pain.

Home care for joint pain

Short-term joint pain may be helped with PRICE therapy:

  • Protection
  • Resting the joint
  • Ice packs wrapped in cloth applied to the joint as advised
  • Compression of the joint with an elastic compression bandage
  • Elevation of the joint above the level of your heart

Seek medical advice if the joint pain worsens or if you have concerns.

Avoiding joint pain

Joint pain cannot always be avoided, but taking precautions at work, when playing sport or doing gardening and housework to protect the joints can help.

Good footwear, warming up before exercise and doing flexibility and strengthening exercises can help protect the joints.

Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on September 06, 2016

Mind, body & soul newsletter

Looking after your health and wellbeing.
Sign Up

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman_holding_head_in_pain
How to help headache pain
man in mirror
How smoking affects your looks & life
man holding sore neck
16 tips when you have a lot of weight to lose
man holding sore neck
Could you have a hormone imbalance?
woman looking at pregnancy test
Is your body ready for pregnancy?
man holding sore neck
8 signs you're headed for menopause
couple makigh salad
Nutrition for over 50s
bain illustration
Best foods for your brain
adult man contemplating
When illness makes it hard to eat
Allergies
Allergy myths and facts
egg in cup
Surprising things that can harm your liver