Joint Stiffness
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Reviewed By:

Kenji Taylor, MD, MSc

Kenji Taylor, MD, MSc (Family Medicine, Primary Care)

Dr. Taylor is a Japanese-African American physician who grew up and was educated in the United States but spent a considerable amount of time in Japan as a college student, working professional and now father of three. After graduating from Brown, he worked in finance first before attending medical school at Penn. He then completed a fellowship with the Centers for Disease Control before going on to specialize in Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) where he was also a chief resident. After a faculty position at Stanford, he moved with his family to Japan where he continues to see families on a military base outside of Tokyo, teach Japanese residents and serve remotely as a medical director for Roots Community Health Center. He also enjoys editing and writing podcast summaries for Hippo Education.

Kaito Nakamura, MD

Kaito Nakamura, MD (Rheumatology)

Dr. Nakamura is a rheumatologist who has practiced in the Ota Nishinouchi Hospital attached to Ota General Hospital, National Health Insurance Matsudo City Hospital, Chiba University Hospital, and the National Health Insurance Asahi Central Hospital.

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Content updated on Apr 4, 2024

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How Ubie Can Help You

With an easy 3-min questionnaire , Ubie's AI-powered system will generate a free report on possible causes.

Questions are customized to your situation and symptoms, including the following personal information:

  • Biological Sex - helps us provide relevant suggestions for male vs. female conditions.

  • Age - adjusts our guidance based on any age-related health factors.

  • History - considers past illnesses, surgeries, family history, and lifestyle choices.

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People with similar symptoms also use Ubie's symptom checker to find possible causes

  • The little finger of the right hand is stiff

  • The little finger of the right foot is stiff

  • The middle finger of the right foot is stiff

  • The middle finger of the right hand is stiff

  • The middle finger of the left hand is stiff

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About the Symptom

Joint stiffness is the sensation of difficulty moving a joint or the apparent loss of range of motion of a joint. Joint stiffness may sometimes follow a pattern: worse in the morning that gets better with movement or worse at the end of a the day after lots of movement. It is often accompanied by pain and swelling.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Muscle weakness in the limbs

  • Difficulty breathing / breathlessness

  • Gross hematuria

  • Swelling of the affected area

  • Low back pain

  • Recent weight loss

  • Fever

  • Disorder of consciousness

  • Fainting with loss of consciousness

  • Altered mental status (delirium)

  • Numbness / sensory disorder

  • Repeated fever above 38 ℃

  • Dysphagia

  • Impossible to walk normally

Possible Causes

Generally, Joint stiffness can be related to:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

    A chronic inflammatory disease where the body's immune system attacks multiple joints, most commonly in the hands and feet. The cause and trigger is unknown.

  • Fibromyalgia

    A condition causing widespread pain and muscle aches throughout the body that may come and go with certain identified triggers. The cause is not well understood.

  • Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)

    Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a type of arthritis that occurs in children under 16 years old. It's a chronic condition characterized by joint pain and swelling that can last for months or years. It affects one or more joints for at least 6 weeks. JIA occurs when the body's immune system attacks its own tissues The cause of JIA is unknown.

  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
  • Shoulder Periarthritis
  • Lumbar Vertebrae Disk Herniation
  • Neuropathic Pain
  • Sjogren Syndrome

Related serious diseases

Sometimes, Joint stiffness may be related to these serious diseases:

  • Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome

    This is a rare and serious reaction to certain medications. Symptoms usually begin within hours to days after exposure to the medication but can sometimes occur up to a month after starting it. Common causative medications include antipsychotics and occasionally drugs used to treat or prevent vomiting, Parkinson's disease, etc. Symptoms include dangerously high body temperature, muscular rigidity, and severe agitation and altered mental status.

  • Cellulitis / Erysipelas

Doctor's Diagnostic Questions

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom:

  • Are your joints stiff?

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Find Similar Symptoms

Similar symptoms or complaints

References

  • Watson H, Lynggård Hansen A, Calusi G, Bartels LE. Musculoskeletal stiffness is common in healthy adults and increases with age. Musculoskeletal Care. 2021 Mar;19(1):3-8. doi: 10.1002/msc.1501. Epub 2020 Aug 18. PMID: 32812344.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32812344/

Reviewed By:

Kenji Taylor, MD, MSc

Kenji Taylor, MD, MSc (Family Medicine, Primary Care)

Dr. Taylor is a Japanese-African American physician who grew up and was educated in the United States but spent a considerable amount of time in Japan as a college student, working professional and now father of three. After graduating from Brown, he worked in finance first before attending medical school at Penn. He then completed a fellowship with the Centers for Disease Control before going on to specialize in Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) where he was also a chief resident. After a faculty position at Stanford, he moved with his family to Japan where he continues to see families on a military base outside of Tokyo, teach Japanese residents and serve remotely as a medical director for Roots Community Health Center. He also enjoys editing and writing podcast summaries for Hippo Education.

Kaito Nakamura, MD

Kaito Nakamura, MD (Rheumatology)

Dr. Nakamura is a rheumatologist who has practiced in the Ota Nishinouchi Hospital attached to Ota General Hospital, National Health Insurance Matsudo City Hospital, Chiba University Hospital, and the National Health Insurance Asahi Central Hospital.

From our team of 50+ doctors

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