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Joint pain and swelling symptoms

The symptoms of joint pain and swelling can vary from person to person, and depending on which joints are affected. Whatever the cause, joint pain and swelling can be very uncomfortable and can make it difficult to move the affected joints.

In some cases, this can lead to problems moving around, completing daily activities (such as washing and dressing), and for some people, working.

Joint pain and swelling can affect more than one joint at a time, and the most common joints to be affected by pain and swelling include:

  • elbows
  • wrists
  • shoulders
  • the base of the spine
  • knuckles
  • hips
  • knees
  • ankles.

Joint pain and swelling may be better or worse at different times of the day. For example, you may find that your joint pain and swelling is worst first thing in the morning. Pain and swelling in the joints can also lead to tiredness and fatigue.

In some cases, swelling may cause affected joints to increase in size or appear to be an odd shape.

Anyone who experiences pain and swelling in one or more joints should discuss this with their doctor. If you have chronic joint pain and swelling, your doctor will be able to assess your situation.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your joint pain and swelling, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).



Last reviewed: July 2015

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