What Causes Joint Pain Besides Arthritis?

What Causes Joint Pain Besides Arthritis?

When you think about the origins of joint pain, the first condition that may come to mind is arthritis, a degenerative condition often associated with aging. Its symptoms are inflamed, painful joints that develop after decades of wear and tear.

But did you know that there are a host of other conditions that can cause pain in your 360 joints? If you’re going to find the right treatment, your physical therapist must fully understand the source of your pain.

When you visit Empire Physical Therapy & Athletic Rehabilitation in New York City, we listen to you and do all we can to find the root cause of your joint pain, so we can treat it accordingly. Billy Reilly, MS, PT, and Paul LaRosa, MS, PT, have years of experience treating all sorts of joint pain, and you’re the beneficiary of that knowledge.

What could be causing my joint pain if it’s not arthritis?

Plenty of things, unfortunately, but to understand joint pain, we should first look at what joints are:

Some of the hardest working joints in your body are your knees, hips, ankles, shoulders, and spine.

Common joint pain triggers: conditions and injuries

If you’re lucky enough not to suffer from arthritis, you may still experience joint pain stemming from a medical condition or injury:


Tendonitis causes joint pain when a tendon swells and becomes irritated. Common types of tendonitis include tennis elbow, pitcher’s shoulder, and knee problems when you jump. 


This form of arthritis differs from osteoarthritis and can be excruciating. Gout pain and inflammation can develop in any joint, but most commonly, it affects the big toe joint, though your knees, elbows, and ankles can become tender as well. 

Gout pain emerges when uric acid crystals accumulate in your joint because of a surplus of uric acid. Uric acid develops when your body either produces too much purine (a chemical compound that the body makes) or you eat too many high-purine foods. 


Bursae are small sacs filled with fluid that protect your muscles, tendons, and bones. When inflamed, the bursae trigger pain in your joints. Your hips, shoulders, and elbows are the joints that bursitis commonly affects.

Repetitive motion problems

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the best known of these, and your hands and wrists are most at risk. Pain is traced to repetitive movements, from typing to using hand tools.


Injuries such as rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder syndrome, or a dislocated shoulder cause terrible pain and immobility in this joint, while an ACL tear wreaks havoc on your knee joint, and stress fractures can happen anywhere.

A herniated or bulging disc can strike any part of your spine, irritate a nerve, and cause arm or leg discomfort.


Your sciatic nerve runs from your lower back down your leg. When it’s compressed, pain can radiate all the way down your leg and into your knee joint. 

We can treat your joint pain, whatever its source

Since building a relationship based on trust is a key priority for us, we spend lots of time learning about your individual story of what brought you to our office. We also value consistency in treatment, so every time you come for a 45-minute session, you see the same provider.

We employ varied tools to ease your pain:

Fortunately, we have multiple options when it comes to erasing your joint pain and expanding your mobility. 

Call our Midtown East office in Manhattan to schedule an appointment or request one through this website. For your convenience, we offer early morning and evening appointments.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Is Working From Home a Pain in Your Neck?

Working from home gives you flexibility and other perks, but if your office isn’t set up properly, it can be a pain in the neck — literally. Learn about why you’re more prone to neck pain and what we can do to remedy it.

Avoid These Foods If You Have Gout

In Henry VIII’s time, gout was known as a disease of the wealthy. It still plagues over 9 million people, and most are regular folks. Learn about what puts you at high risk for gout and how tweaking your diet could help prevent painful flares.

Understanding Your Options When You Have a Labrum Tear

A labrum tear is one of the most common and potentially painful shoulder injuries that can also limit your mobility. Learn about the labrum, what leads to tears, and the important role physical therapy plays in recovery from tears or surgery.

How Stretch Therapy Can Help Your Plantar Fasciitis

Are you one of the 10% of people who suffer from the pain, inflammation, and movement limitations brought on by a tight and inflamed plantar fascia, the ligament that runs the length of your foot? Learn why stretch therapy brings welcome relief.

What Can I Expect During My Knee Replacement Recovery?

You may shudder if your doctor recommends a total knee replacement, but if other pain and immobility treatments have failed, this is your best bet. Learn about the procedure and the critical part physical therapy can play in your recovery.