ZocdocAnswersIs all joint pain caused by arthritis?

Question

Is all joint pain caused by arthritis?

I have pain in the joints of my hands. In my fingers and near my wrist as well. Is this arthritis? Is all joint pain a form of arthritis or can something else make a person's joints ache?

Answer

Arthritis is one cause of pain in the hands and wrists. There are actually several different kinds of arthritis that can cause hand and wrist pain. The most common is called osteoarthritis, or 'wear and tear' arthritis; this tends to affect middle aged and older adults, and it typically causes pain at the end of the day after using the hands. On the other hand, inflammatory types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can occur at any age and typically cause more pain and stiffness in the mornings, along with more significant joint warmth and swelling than is seen with osteoarthritis. What's more, in addition to arthritis, there are other causes of hand or wrist pain, including tendonitis and other strain or overuse injuries, most typically acquired because of repetitive motions with the hands, such as swinging a tennis racket or typing on a keyboard. Carpal tunnel syndrome, which involves the inflammation of nerves inside the wrist, can also cause pain in the hand, typically also accompanied by numbness or weakness in the fingers or palm. Since there are so many potential causes of your symptoms, you will need to see your primary care doctor, who will be able to help you figure out more exactly what is going on.

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