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What are Common Causes of Joint Pain and Weakness?

By Alex Terris
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Joint pain and weakness are two symptoms of a variety of different problems. The most common causes of these types of symptoms include arthritis, inflammation and infections. Trauma injuries can also cause these symptoms. A weak joint is usually the result of an injury to the surrounding muscle or in some cases a muscle disease. This may be confined to a single joint or to all the joints in the body depending on the type of problem.

Joint pain and weakness can sometimes be caused by muscle inflammation. This can be the result of a number of different types of disease including viral infections. Muscle inflammation can, like all types of inflammation, also cause pain in the joint. Other symptoms may include warmth and a decreased range of motion. If a patient is suffering from these symptoms then he or she should visit a doctor as soon as possible in order to get a professional diagnosis as this can speed up recovery time.

Muscle weakness can also be caused by imbalances in the body. For example, joint pain in the knee can often be the result of a weaker inner quadriceps muscle compared to the outer muscle. In this case, a weakness is the cause of the pain rather than a result. If a muscle imbalance is identified then physical therapy will often be used in order to readdress the balance and hence decrease pain.

Arthritis is one of the most common causes of joint pain and weakness. Stiffness is another common sign of arthritis. Although joint pain can be caused by arthritis there are a number of conditions that induce similar symptoms and hence are misdiagnosed.

In order to find a correct diagnosis a doctor will also have to look at other symptoms. For example, joint pain may be caused by Lyme disease although this will also be accompanied by a rash and other symptons. When a joint is painful to use for a long period of time then weakness in the surrounding muscles often occurs as a result and hence weakness may not be a specific symptom of a problem but a consequence.

Sometimes joint pain and weakness can occur all over the body as a result of a disease. Real muscle weakness occurs when the nervous system isn’t working correctly or when there is a problem with the muscle itself. Sometimes, however, the pain is simply a result of aging.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By candyquilt — On Aug 22, 2013

@SarahGen-- Are you on any medications?

I had to take antibiotics for two weeks for a bacterial infection and I've had these same issues ever since.

By burcidi — On Aug 21, 2013

@SarahGen-- It's true that these are symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, but if that was the cause, it would have shown up in blood tests like you said.

Could you have Lyme disease? You haven't been bitten by a tick right? Lyme disease is caused by a tick bite and it starts off with a rash.

Or did you suffer from a serious infection like meningitis or mononucleosis in the past several years? Viral infections can also cause joint pain, weakness and fatigue for some time.

By SarahGen — On Aug 21, 2013

I have chronic joint pain, weakness and fatigue. The pain is in my ankles and knees. I've been to the doctor multiple times. My blood tests do not show any signs of arthritis. It's odd because the pain behaves like arthritis. It worsens in humid weather and in cold weather for example.

If this is not arthritis, then what could it be?

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