Question

Can hypothyroidism cause joint pain? I have hypothyroidism and have been experiencing severe arthritis-like pain in my shoulders and hips.

Answer

For some people, hypothyroidism can contribute to joint and muscle problems.

Specifically, hypothyroidism may lead to:

  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness, especially in the shoulders and hips
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Swelling of the small joints in the hands and feet
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

Reducing pain

Although common over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help, adequate thyroid hormone replacement is the primary treatment and often helps dramatically.

When to see your doctor

Keep in mind that people with the most common form of hypothyroidism have an increased risk of developing other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. If pain, stiffness and swelling don't improve after adequate thyroid treatment, consult your doctor. He or she may consider other possible causes of your joint pain.

Last Updated: 01-16-2019
FAQ-20057789
content provided by mayoclinic.com
© 1998-2020 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.