Swollen Joints

MedicineNet - Swollen Joints

Symptom Checker: Symptoms & Signs Index

Medical Author:

Related
Symptoms & Signs

Swollen joints refers to the enlargement of the joints, usually as a result of an inflammatory process or injury to the joint or to surrounding structures. Joint swelling may be accompanied by other symptoms, including stiffness, pain, redness, warmth, and apparent loss of range of motion of the joint. Depending upon the exact cause, swollen joints may occur singly, or multiple joints in the body may be involved at one time. The many arthritis conditions are a common cause of swollen joints.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/22/2012

Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.

REFERENCE:

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

Causes of Swollen Joints
    • 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?
    • Ankylosing Spondylitis Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes chronic inflammation of the spine. The tendency to develop ankylosing...learn more »
      In This Article
      Ankylosing Spondylitis Article
      • Ankylosing spondylitis facts
      • What is ankylosing spondylitis?
      • What causes ankylosing spondylitis?
      • What are ankylosing spondylitis symptoms and signs?
      • How is ankylosing spondylitis diagnosed?
      • What are ankylosing spondylitis treatment options?
      • Can ankylosing spondylitis be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for patients with ankylosing spondylitis?
      • What is in the future for patients with ankylosing spondylitis?
      • Where can people find more information about ankylosing spondylitis and learn about support groups?
    • 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 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
      • Bursitis Home Remedies
      • Medical Treatment
      • Follow-up
      • Bursitis Prevention
      • Bursitis Prognosis
      • Bursitis Pictures
    • Costochondritis and Tietze's Syndrome Costochondritis is inflammation of the cartilage where the ribs attach to the sternum. Tietze syndrome affects the same region of...learn more »
      In This Article
      Costochondritis and Tietze's Syndrome Article
      • What is costochondritis?
      • What causes costochondritis?
      • What are symptoms of costochondritis, and what is Tietze's syndrome?
      • How are costochondritis and Tietze's syndrome diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for costochondritis and Tietze's syndrome?
      • What is the prognosis for costochondritis and Tietze's syndrome?
      • Can costochondritis and Tietze's syndrome be prevented?
    • Fungal Arthritis Fungal arthritis is inflammation of a joint by a fungus that has invaded the body and is growing in the normally sterile joint....learn more »
      In This Article
      Fungal Arthritis Article
      • Fungal arthritis facts
      • What is fungal arthritis?
      • What causes fungal arthritis?
      • What are risks for developing fungal arthritis?
      • What are fungal arthritis symptoms and signs?
      • How is fungal arthritis diagnosed?
      • How is fungal arthritis treated?
      • What is the prognosis of fungal arthritis?
      • Can fungal arthritis be prevented?
    • 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?
    • Henoch-Schonlein Purpura Henoch-Schonlein Purpura (HSP or anaphylactoid purpura), a type of blood vessel inflammation, results in rash, arthritis, and...learn more »
      In This Article
      Henoch-Schonlein Purpura Article
      • Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP) facts
      • What is Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP)?
      • What causes HSP?
      • What are risk factors for HSP?
      • What are HSP symptoms and signs?
      • How is HSP diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for HSP?
      • What are complications of HSP?
      • What is the prognosis for patients with HSP?
      • Can HSP be prevented?
    • Knee Injury Knee injuries, especially meniscus tears, are common in contact sports. Symptoms and signs of a torn meniscus include knee pain,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Knee Injury Article
      • Knee injury facts
      • What are the different types of knee injuries?
      • What causes a knee injury?
      • What are risk factors for a knee injury?
      • What are knee injury symptoms and signs?
      • How is a knee injury diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for a knee injury?
      • What exercises are recommended and what exercises should be avoided during rehabilitation for a knee injury?
      • What is the recovery time for a knee injury?
      • What is the prognosis of a knee injury?
      • Can knee injuries be prevented?
    • 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?
    • Osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints. Also...learn more »
      In This Article
      Osteoarthritis Article
      • Osteoarthritis facts
      • What is osteoarthritis?
      • What causes osteoarthritis?
      • What are osteoarthritis symptoms and signs?
      • How is osteoarthritis diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for osteoarthritis?
      • "If I have minimal or no symptoms with early signs of osteoarthritis, what should I do?"
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for patients with osteoarthritis?
      • Can osteoarthritis be prevented?
      • What does the future hold for osteoarthritis?
      • Where can people get more information about osteoarthritis?
    • 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?
    • Psoriatic Arthritis Psoriatic arthritis is a disease that causes skin and joint inflammation. Symptoms include painful, stiff, and swollen joints,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Psoriatic Arthritis Article
      • Psoriatic arthritis facts
      • What is psoriatic arthritis?
      • What causes psoriatic arthritis?
      • What are risk factors for developing psoriatic arthritis?
      • What are psoriatic arthritis symptoms and signs?
      • How does the doctor diagnose psoriatic arthritis?
      • What is the treatment for psoriatic arthritis?
      • Disease-modifying medications
      • What are complications of psoriatic arthritis?
      • What is the outlook (prognosis) for patients with psoriatic arthritis?
      • Can psoriatic arthritis be prevented?
      • What does the future hold for patients with psoriatic arthritis?
    • 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?
      • Rheumatoid arthritis diet and other treatments
      • What about rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy?
      • 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?
    • 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 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 Swollen Joints
  • Bone Tumor
  • Cartilage Tear
  • Dislocations
  • Soft Tissue Tumors
  • Synovial Sarcoma
  • Trauma or Injury
Examples of Medications for Swollen Joints
  • acetaminophen, Tylenol and Others
  • aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid, Ecotrin)
  • ibuprofen, Advil, Children's Advil/Motrin, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin, PediaCare Fever etc.
  • naproxen, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn, Aleve
  • Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Over-the-Counter Products




Arthritis

Get the latest treatment options