Joint pain

Joint pain can occur due to injury or overuse of the structures supporting the joint. Structures supporting the joint include ligaments, tendons, and bursae.

Joint injury and overuse

Ligaments are strong, flexible fibres that attach bones to each other. Ligaments can be injured when the joint moves in an abnormal direction — like twisting an ankle. This stretches or tears the ligaments around the joint, causing a sprain. Pain and swelling accompany a sprain.


Tendons are bands of strong tissue that attach muscles to bone. Tendinitis means inflammation of a tendon; it can occur due to injury, overuse, or with aging as the tendon becomes stiffer. The pain may be felt along the tendon near the joint, be bothersome at night, and get worse with movement. Tendinitis often occurs in the elbow; the heel, where the Achilles tendon attaches; the shoulder; or the wrist.


A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion at a joint, allowing tendons and muscles to glide over the bone. Bursitis refers to inflammation of a bursa. Chronic overuse and injury are common causes of bursitis. Most often, the shoulder, knee, elbow, or hip is affected by bursitis. Bursitis can cause swelling over the joint, pain and tenderness when you press around the joint, and pain and stiffness when you move the joint.

Treating joint pain

Most joint pain can be managed at home. Rest and stretching exercises help in treating non-arthritis joint pain. An anti-inflammatory medication, such as ASPIRIN® Arthritis Pain Relief, can help relieve pain and swelling.

Contact your doctor if your joint pain doesn’t improve after 3 days or if you have severe and unexplained joint pain, especially if you also have other unexplained symptoms.

A note about arthritis

Pain within the joint is called arthritis. There are more than a hundred different types of arthritis. It is important to see your doctor if you think you may have arthritis, as a specific diagnosis helps determine the best type of treatment.

ALEVE® is an effective anti-inflammatory medication to relieve arthritis pain.

Learn more about ALEVE®