Structures in your musculoskeletal system – besides your bones, cartilage and synovium (lining inside a joint) – can cause pain if you have arthritis.
- Muscles. Muscle pain is a main symptom in some types of arthritis-related diseases. Your muscles may also ache if they are weakened due to lack of use or when trying to support joints with arthritis.
- Ligaments. These tough bands of tissue hold joints together by connecting two bones. They can become torn, stretched or weakened when you have arthritis.
- Tendons. These tough bands of tissue connect muscles to bone. Tendinitis occurs when the tendon becomes inflamed or irritated due to arthritis or overuse.
- Bursae. These fluid-filled sacs pad the bones, tendons and muscles near your joints. Bursitis happens when they become inflamed or irritated due to arthritis or overuse.
Athletes may have specific kinds of soft-tissue damage. Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are painful conditions that involve inflammation of the tendons holding the muscles of the elbow together. Runners may get a condition called plantar fasciitis when the thick band of tissue along the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed.
Some people may feel nerve-related (neuropathic) musculoskeletal pain when joint damage closes the “tunnel” or opening that a nerve passes through. For example, you may feel the effects of sciatica (pain going from the back down the leg) if you have arthritis in your spine; carpal tunnel syndrome (pain in the wrist going into the hand) if you have arthritis in your wrist; or tarsal tunnel syndrome (pain in the ankle going into the bottom of the foot or the toes) if you have arthritis in your ankle.