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What Foods Cause Joint Pain?

Did you know there are certain foods that cause inflammation in joints?

Yep, nutrition is a major piece that's missed when it comes to recovery and often overlooked when it comes to chronic pain.

This is an important topic because oftentimes we see people continue to struggle simply because of a poor diet.

Alongside physical therapy, this article will give you some tips on how to make sure your diet isn’t sabotaging your recovery.

In this article we will talk about common causes of joint pain, what food causes joint pain, what food relieves joint pain, and other factors that relieve joint pain.


A wide range of conditions can lead to painful joints:

  • Osteoarthritis, a “wear and tear” disease, is the most common type of arthritis.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that happens when your body attacks its own tissues.

  • Bursitis is when sacs of fluid that help cushion your joints get inflamed.

  • Gout is a form of arthritis that most often affects your big toe joint.

  • Strains, sprains, and other injuries

All of which result in inflammation, pain and reduced range of motion.


If you currently have joint pain, eating a highly inflammatory diet can make things worse and increase your recovery time. Here’s a list of foods that cause joint pain:

  • Added sugars

  • Processed meats

  • Gluten-containing foods

  • Highly processed foods

  • Alcohol

  • Certain vegetable oils

  • Foods high in salt


As you know now, joint pain is a matter of chronic inflammation. Studies suggest that there are certain foods that can help decrease that inflammation. Now that you know what foods cause joint pain… Here’s a list of foods that relieve joint pain:

  • Berries

  • Fatty Fish

  • Broccoli

  • Avocados

  • Green Tea

  • Peppers

  • Mushrooms

  • Grapes

  • Turmeric

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Dark Chocolate

  • Tomatoes

  • Cherries


Your goal with joint pain is to reduce inflammation and pain. We’ve gone over what foods cause inflammation in joints and some foods that relieve joint pain. However, there are other factors that relieve joint pain.

You can work with a physical therapist to strengthen the muscles around the joint, stabilize the joint, and improve your range of motion. The therapist will use techniques such as joint manipulation and therapeutic exercises.

If you are overweight, losing weight can relieve some of the pressure on your painful joints. Exercise is one effective way to lose weight (along with diet), but it’s recommended to start with low-impact exercises that won't further irritate the joint. Swimming and bicycling are among the best exercises because both allow you to exercise your joints without putting impact on them. Because water is buoyant, swimming also relieves some of the pressure on your joints.


For moderate-to-severe joint pain with swelling, an over-the-counter or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin, celecoxib, ibuprofen, or naproxen can provide relief. NSAIDs can have side effects, potentially increasing your risk for gastrointestinal bleeding.

If you have mild pain without any swelling, acetaminophen can be effective. Be careful when taking this medicine though, especially if you drink alcohol, because high doses may cause liver damage. Because of the risks, you should take any of these pain medications with caution and consult a Doctor first.


Most commonly, they might inject a steroid medication directly into the joint every 3 to 4 months. Steroid injections are most commonly used in patients with arthritis or tendinitis. If steroid injections mask an injury, you could overuse the joint and damage it even further. The procedures are effective, but in many situations the effect may be temporary.

Platelet-rich plasma therapy

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is made from your own blood, which is then injected into your painful joint. Your joint contains a large number of platelets and proteins that have anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating effects.


It involves a series of injections of an irritant (often a sugar solution) into joints, ligaments, and tendons. The theory is that the injections stimulate local healing of injured tissues. A treatment program may involve 15-20 shots given monthly for 3-4 months.

Now you have a list of foods that cause joint pain and what foods cause inflammation, you know what to start to limit in your diet.

You also have a list of foods to start incorporating into your diet and some other options to try as well.

Hope this helps!

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