Joint Aches at Night

Joints, or the pivot points between bones that allow bending and movement, can become sore at night for a variety of reasons. Diseases and conditions associated with aching joints range from lupus to growing pains. Each prognosis is accompanied by other symptoms, making it easier to judge the cause of your pain, but visit your doctor for more efficient diagnosis.

A woman sitting up in bed holding her back. (Image: gpointstudio/iStock/Getty Images)


The chronic inflammatory disease that causes your body to attack its own organs, called Lupus, can cause joint pain from inflammation, in addition to fatigue, fever, weight changes, chest pain, dry eyes, memory loss, hair loss, mouth sores, skin lesions, easy bruising and anxiety. Another indicator that your joint pain might be Lupus-related is a butterfly-shaped rash that covers the bridge of your nose and your cheeks. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen may help to relieve pain, but see your doctor if your joint soreness continues.

Growing Pains

Growing pains mainly affect joints in the legs and most often at night in children during their preteen years. There is no cure for growing pains, but it usually diminishes by the time children reach their teens. Treat your child's pain with a warm heating pad or by massaging the affected areas. Pain relievers may also help, but avoid using aspirin due to the risk of Reye's syndrome.

Henoch-Schonlein Purpura

Henoch-Scholein purpura is a vascilitis, or group of disorders that causes inflammation in blood vessels, which can result in painful aching joints, often in children but also in adults. A key factor in distinguishing Henoch-Scholein purpura is the purplish-red rash, similar to bruises that appears on the buttocks, legs and feet or other areas. Other symptoms include gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and abdominal pain, and kidney involvement. See your doctor or your child's pediatrician if you see the rash or other symptoms.


Gout, an irritation of joint linings caused by crystals from uric acid buildup, causes pain that strikes joints beginning with the big toe. Pain might also begin in the the instep, heel, ankle or knee, as well, and usually begins at night. Inflammation may be intense enough to bring about fever, muscle-aches and flu-like symptoms. See your physician for information on medication to reduce uric acid production and for pain treatment.


Joint pain can stem from many other medical conditions including Lyme disease, rheumatic fever, arthritis and different types of cancer. Joint pain can also result from injury or overuse. If pain persists, talk to your doctor.

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