Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Joint pain and swelling symptoms

The symptoms of joint pain and swelling can vary from person to person, and depend 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: August 2017

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 360 results

Hands and arthritis

This sheet has been written for people whose hands are affected by arthritis. It provides general information about ways you can look after your hands and manage your symptoms. It also tells you where to find further information and advice.

Read more on Arthritis Australia website

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Juvenile Chronic Arthritis) | myVMC

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) refers to a group of diseases causing chronic (lasting longer than 6 weeks) joint pain and swelling in children

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Rheumatoid Arthritis | myVMC

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition which make hand, feet and other joints painful and stiff. It usually begins at 30-50 years.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Joint pain (Arthralgia) | myVMC

Joint Pain: Medical information about causes of joint pain and the treatment and diagnosis of joint painwritten by Health Professionals.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

At home with arthritis

When you have arthritis, joint pain and weakness can make normal activities around the home difficult

Read more on Arthritis Australia website

Arthritis and physical exercise information | myVMC

Exericse is good for people with arthritis. It increases bone and muscle strength, stimulates weight loss and reduces arthritic joint pain.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Juvenile chronic arthritis - myDr.com.au

Juvenile chronic arthritis or juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is long-term joint inflammation (arthritis) in children. The main symptom is having painful joints for no obvious reason.

Read more on myDr website

Exercising and arthritis - myDr.com.au

Exercise can reduce joint pain and stiffness and increases flexibility, strength and endurance in people with arthritis. Four main types of exercise are recommended for people with arthritis.

Read more on myDr website

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes pain and inflammation of the joints. Other parts of the body can also be affected. Inflammation causes the joints to become painful, hot and swollen and movement to be restricted.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Osteoarthritis (joint pain) information video | myVMC

Osteoarthritis is a common cause of knee pain and joint pain, and the leading cause of joint replacement therapy (e.g. knee or hip replacement).

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback