Joint pain that develops over time is likely due to osteoarthritis, a common condition in which wear-and-tear over the years erodes the slippery articular cartilage protecting your bones. Without protection, the ends of your bones catch and rub against each other inside your joints, causing inflammation, pain, and stiffness.

Other kinds of arthritis can cause similar symptoms, but for different reasons. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disorder where your immune system attacks the joint linings in the same way it would invading bacteria, and an infection can lead to septic arthritis. Gout is a type of arthritis that most often affects your feet due to uric acid crystals building up in the joints.

Conditions like bursitis, where inflammation develops in the sacs of liquid (bursae) in your joints, and overuse injuries like tendinitis can also cause chronic joint pain. Acute joint pain from injuries like tendon strains, ligament sprains, cartilage tears, and dislocations can develop into chronic pain if the injury doesn’t heal properly.

The large joints in your body – knees, hips, and shoulders – often suffer from the most severe joint pain.