Joint Stiffness

General or Other | Rheumatology | Joint Stiffness (Symptom)


Stiff joints are a symptom characterized by reduced mobility or impeded mobility of a joint. You may have difficulty moving the joint or you may be completely unable to move the joint. Joint stiffness may occur in one joint or be present in multiple joints.


There are many causes of stiff joints. Sudden joint stiffness may be due to an injury, while joint stiffness that develops and worsens over time may be due to an underlying disorder or disease. The primary cause of joint stiffness is arthritis, which is inflammation of the joints due to a variety of causes.

Stiff joints caused by injury often have a sudden onset. In other cases, stiff joints resulting from wear-and-tear damage or an underlying medical condition develop slowly and persist or worsen over time.

The duration and course of joint stiffness vary widely, depending on the cause. You may experience stiffness in the affected joint continuously, after specific activities, or at a certain times of the day. Joint stiffness may be accompanied by other joint symptoms, such as pain, inflammation, soreness and achiness.

Stiff joints may accompany symptoms related to other body systems including: abdominal pain or cramping, body aches, cough, enlarged liver and glands, such as the spleen and lymph nodes, fatigue, fever and chills, headache, muscle twhiching, spasms or seizures, nausea with or without vomiting, sore throat.