Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.


Joint Tenderness Overview

What is joint tenderness?
A person with joint tenderness has joint pain that increases when pressing on the surface of the joint or moving the joint through its normal range of motion. Joint tenderness may be caused by injury, inflammation or infection. Arthritis is the number one cause of persistent joint tenderness.

What symptoms are associated with joint tenderness?
Symptoms that can occur with joint tenderness include joint stiffness, joint swelling, joint redness, joint warmth, joint pain, and joint deformity.

How does the doctor diagnose joint tenderness?
The doctor will often suspect the underlying cause for joint tenderness after taking your history and performing an examination. Testing is often required to confirm the diagnosis. Commonly performed tests include blood tests such as uric acid, CBC, ESR, Lyme disease assay, and rheumatoid factor. Other tests include x-rays of the affected joints, and in some cases, MRI scanning of the joints. If a joint is swollen the doctor may obtain a sample of fluid from inside the joint by performing a procedure called arthrocentesis. Analysis of the fluid can provide information on the underlying cause for the arthritis and joint tenderness.

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