What are the signs of joint problems? Joint symptoms include pain, inflammation, soreness, achiness and stiffness. You may have difficulty moving the joint. The symptoms may occur in one joint or in multiple joints. The symptoms may be constant or variable, and they may improve or worsen with movement. If joint pain is present, it may be described as sharp, dull, stabbing, burning or throbbing, ranging in intensity from mild to severe. Arthritis and other types of degenerative joint disease are among the most common causes of joint symptoms. Joint symptoms may also be related to a chronic underlying disease that affects other regions of the body. Injuries can also cause joint symptoms. The duration and course of joint symptoms vary widely, depending on the cause. Symptoms caused by injury often have a sudden onset. In other cases, joint symptoms resulting from wear-and-tear damage or an underlying medical condition develop slowly and persist or worsen over time. In rare cases, infections of the bone (osteomyelitis) or skin and soft tissues (cellulitis) in and surrounding a joint can spread throughout the body, resulting in shock and organ failure. Animal and insect bites cause bloodborne infections that generate notable joint misery. Another rare but potentially life-threatening cause of joint symptoms is cancer of the bones or the soft tissues of the joints. Although life-threatening complications of joint symptoms are rare, seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have injuries that involve profuse bleeding or tissue damage, or for serious symptoms, such as high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), paralysis, loss of sensation, absent pulses in your feet, the inability to move a joint, or uncontrollable pain. If your joint symptoms are persistent, recurrent, or cause you concern, seek prompt medical care.