Joint Stiffness

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Patients may experience the related symptoms of Hip Pain, Joint Pain, and/or Knee Pain.

Joint stiffness is the sensation of difficulty moving a joint or the apparent loss of range of motion of a joint. Joint stiffness often accompanies joint pain and/or swelling. Joint stiffness can be caused by injury or disease of the joint and is a common finding in the arthritis conditions. Joint damage including stiffness can also occur following injury to the joint. Sometimes injuries or inflammation of the adjacent areas, such as bursae, can cause pain that may limit the movement of a joint and be perceived as joint stiffness. Joint pain is also referred to as arthralgia.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/18/2011

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REFERENCE: Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

Causes of Joint Stiffness
    • Ankle Pain Ankle pain is commonly due to a sprain or tendinitis. The severity of ankle sprains ranges from mild (which can resolve within...learn more »
      In This Article
      Ankle Pain Article
      • Ankle pain and tendinitis facts
      • How is the ankle designed, and what is the ankle's function?
      • What injuries can cause ankle pain?
      • What diseases and conditions can cause ankle pain, and how are they treated?
    • Arthritis Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness...learn more »
      In This Article
      Arthritis Article
      • Arthritis facts
      • What is arthritis? What causes arthritis?
      • What are risk factors for arthritis?
      • What are arthritis symptoms and signs?
      • Who is affected by arthritis?
      • How is arthritis diagnosed, and why is a diagnosis important?
      • What is the treatment for arthritis?
      • Is there a special diet for arthritis?
      • What are the prognosis (outlook) for arthritis, and what are arthritis complications?
      • Can arthritis be prevented?
      • What is the national financial impact of arthritis?
      • What is a rheumatologist?
      • What is the Arthritis Foundation?
    • Broken Bone (Types of Bone Fractures) A broken bone is a fracture. There are different types of fractures such as compressed, open, stress, greenstick, spiral,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Broken Bone (Types of Bone Fractures) Article
      • What is a broken bone (fracture)?
      • What causes a broken bone?
      • What are the most common types of broken bones?
      • Compression fracture
      • Skull fracture
      • Stress fracture
      • What are the most common bones that are broken?
      • Broken hand or fingers
      • Broken wrist
      • Broken hip
      • Broken leg
      • Broken toe
      • Broken shoulder
      • What are the signs and symptoms of a broken bone?
      • When should I call a doctor if I think I have broken a bone?
      • How is a broken bone diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for a broken bone?
      • What about surgery for a broken bone?
      • How can fractures be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis for a broken bone?
    • Bursitis Bursae (one is a bursa) are fluid-filled sacs that cushion areas of friction between tendon and bone or skin. Like air-filled...learn more »
      In This Article
      Bursitis Article
      • Bursitis Overview
      • Bursitis Causes
      • Bursitis Symptoms and Signs
      • When to Seek Medical Care
      • Bursitis Diagnosis
      • Bursitis Treatment
      • Self-Care at Home
      • Medical Treatment
      • Follow-up
      • Bursitis Prevention
      • Bursitis Prognosis
      • Bursitis Pictures
      • Authors and Editors
    • Connective Tissue Disease Connective tissue disease is when the body's connective tissues come under attack, possibly becoming injured by inflammation....learn more »
      In This Article
      Connective Tissue Disease Article
      • What is a connective tissue disease?
      • What causes connective tissue disease?
      • What are symptoms and signs of a connective tissue disease?
      • How are connective tissue diseases diagnosed?
      • What are genetic risk factors for developing connective tissue disease?
      • What autoimmune diseases are associated with connective tissue disease?
    • Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and tender points. Stress...learn more »
      In This Article
      Fibromyalgia Article
      • Fibromyalgia facts
      • What is fibromyalgia?
      • What causes fibromyalgia?
      • Is fibromyalgia hereditary?
      • What are risk factors for fibromyalgia?
      • What are fibromyalgia symptoms and signs?
      • How do physicians diagnose fibromyalgia?
      • What is the treatment for fibromyalgia?
      • Are there any home remedies for fibromyalgia?
      • Does diet or exercise affect fibromyalgia?
      • What is the prognosis of fibromyalgia?
      • Is it possible to prevent fibromyalgia?
      • Are there support groups for fibromyalgia?
      • What is the latest research on fibromyalgia?
    • Gout (Gouty Arthritis) Buildup of uric acid crystals in a joint causes gouty arthritis. Symptoms and signs include joint pain, swelling, heat, and...learn more »
      In This Article
      Gout (Gouty Arthritis) Article
      • Gout facts
      • What is gout?
      • What causes gout?
      • What are risk factors for gout?
      • What are symptoms and signs of gout?
      • How is gout diagnosed?
      • When should gout be treated?
      • What is the treatment for gout?
      • Do gout medications have any side effects?
      • What foods should people with gout avoid?
      • What complications are associated with gout?
      • What is the prognosis of gout?
      • Is it possible to prevent gout?
      • What research is being done on gout?
    • Lupus Systemic lupus erythematosus is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of body tissues caused by autoimmune disease....learn more »
      In This Article
      Lupus Article
      • Systemic lupus erythematosus facts
      • What is systemic lupus erythematosus? What are the types of lupus?
      • What causes systemic lupus erythematosus? Is lupus hereditary?
      • What is drug-induced lupus?
      • What are lupus symptoms and signs?
      • How is systemic lupus erythematosus diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for systemic lupus?
      • How can a lupus patient help prevent disease activity (flares)?
      • How can systemic lupus erythematosus affect pregnancy or the newborn?
      • What is the prognosis of lupus? What does the future hold for people with systemic lupus?
      • Where can one get more information about systemic lupus erythematosus?
    • Polymyalgia Rheumatica Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a disorder of the muscles and joints that causes pain and stiffness in the arms, neck, shoulders,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Polymyalgia Rheumatica Article
      • Polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis facts
      • What is polymyalgia rheumatica?
      • What causes polymyalgia rheumatica?
      • What are symptoms and signs of polymyalgia rheumatica?
      • How is polymyalgia rheumatica diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for polymyalgia rheumatica?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for patients with polymyalgia rheumatica?
      • Can polymyalgia be prevented?
      • What are complications of polymyalgia rheumatica?
      • What is giant cell arteritis?
      • What causes giant cell arteritis?
      • What are symptoms of giant cell arteritis?
      • How is giant cell arteritis diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for giant cell arteritis?
      • What is the prognosis for patients with giant cell arteritis?
      • Can giant cell arteritis be prevented?
      • What are complications of giant cell arteritis?
    • Pseudogout Pseudogout, a form of arthritis, results when deposits of crystals collect in and around the joints. Symptoms of pseudogout...learn more »
      In This Article
      Pseudogout Article
      • Pseudogout facts
      • What is pseudogout?
      • What are causes of pseudogout?
      • What are risk factors for pseudogout?
      • What are pseudogout symptoms and signs?
      • How does a doctor diagnose pseudogout?
      • What are treatments for pseudogout?
      • What other conditions can accompany pseudogout?
      • Are there special circumstances that can promote attacks of pseudogout?
      • What are complications of pseudogout?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) of pseudogout?
      • Can pseudogout be prevented?
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, as...learn more »
      In This Article
      Rheumatoid Arthritis Article
      • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) facts
      • What is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?
      • What are causes and risk factors of rheumatoid arthritis?
      • What are rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and signs?
      • What are complications of rheumatoid disease?
      • How do physicians diagnose rheumatoid arthritis?
      • What is the treatment for rheumatoid arthritis?
      • "First-line" rheumatoid arthritis medications
      • "Second-line" or "slow-acting" rheumatoid arthritis drugs
      • What are newer treatments for rheumatoid arthritis?
      • What about rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy?
      • Rheumatoid arthritis diet and other treatments
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for patients with rheumatoid arthritis?
      • Is it possible to prevent rheumatoid arthritis?
      • What research is being done on rheumatoid arthritis?
      • Where can people get additional information on rheumatoid arthritis?
    • Septic Arthritis Septic arthritis, or infectious arthritis, is infection of one or more joints by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Symptoms and signs...learn more »
      In This Article
      Septic Arthritis Article
      • Septic arthritis facts
      • What is septic arthritis?
      • What microbes cause septic arthritis?
      • Who is at risk of developing septic arthritis?
      • What are symptoms and signs of septic arthritis?
      • How do physicians diagnose septic arthritis?
      • How is septic arthritis treated?
      • What are complications of septic arthritis?
      • What is the prognosis of septic arthritis?
      • Is it possible to prevent septic arthritis?
    • Sickle Cell Disease (Sickle Cell Anemia) Sickle cell anemia (sickle cell disease), a blood disease which shortens life expectancy, is cause by an inherited abnormal...learn more »
      In This Article
      Sickle Cell Disease (Sickle Cell Anemia) Article
      • Sickle cell anemia facts
      • What is sickle cell anemia?
      • How is sickle cell anemia inherited?
      • What conditions promote the sickling (distortion) of the red blood cells in sickle cell anemia?
      • How is sickle cell anemia diagnosed?
      • What are the symptoms and treatments of sickle cell anemia?
      • What is the outlook (prognosis) for patients with sickle cell anemia?
    • Sprains and Strains An injury to a ligament is called a sprain, and an injury to muscle or tendon is called a strain. Sprains and strains may be...learn more »
      In This Article
      Sprains and Strains Article
      • Muscle sprains and strains facts
      • What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?
      • What causes a sprain or strain?
      • Where do sprains and strains usually occur?
      • What are sprain symptoms and signs?
      • How are sprains and strains diagnosed?
      • How are sprains and strains treated?
      • What is the recovery time for sprains and strains?
      • Can sprains and strains be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis of sprains and strains?
      • Where can people find more information about sprains and strains?
    • Torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear) The anterior cruciate ligament helps to prevent the top and bottom of the knee from sliding back and forth. Symptoms and signs of...learn more »
      In This Article
      Torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear) Article
      • Torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) facts
      • What is the function of the knee joint?
      • What is a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)?
      • What causes a torn ACL?
      • What are symptoms and signs of a torn ACL?
      • How is a torn ACL diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for a torn ACL?
      • How long does it take to recover from a torn ACL?
      • What is the prognosis of a torn ACL?
      • Can ACL tears be prevented?
    • Torn Meniscus A torn meniscus (knee cartilage) may be caused by suddenly stopping, sharply twisting, or deep squatting or kneeling when lifting...learn more »
Other Causes of Joint Stiffness
Examples of Medications for Joint Stiffness



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