Many people with a diagnosis of hypothyroidism will suffer from joint pain. Hypothyroidism is a medical condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone for normal body function. Their joint pain comes from under-active (hypo) thyroid gland causing excessive protein deposits in joint tissue. The knees, ankles, feet, and hands the most common pain site in hypothyroidism. However, recent research suggests far broader connections.
Researchers suggest (1) that the autoimmune thyroid disease also known as Hashimoto thyroiditis, caused a significantly elevated prevalence of temporomandibular disorders (jaw related pain). Therefore patients with temporomandibular disorders who do not respond to therapy should be referred for thyroid diagnostic workup.
A 2016 paper suggested (2) that “the association between thyroid disorders and musculoskeletal diseases has long been suspected, but it is still debated whether they have a role in the pathogenesis of shoulder diseases. In vivo and in vitro studies describe the role of thyroid hormones in bone, cartilage and tendon biology. Retrospective studies and case reports suggest that thyroid diseases should be considered as risk factors and hold prognostic value in some of the most common causes of shoulder pain.”
A paper from 2016 (3) wrote of the rheumatic clinical manifestations in hypothyroidism. They include: polyarthralgias (joint pain without degenerative disease in many cases), lack of recent skill of fine movements of the hands, carpal tunnel syndrome or tarsal, osteoarthritis or acute type (gout, chondrocalcinosis), adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder syndrome), generalized muscular stiffness, hypothyroid myopathy (muscle disorders), secondary osteoarthritis, Dupuytren’s contracture, “trigger finger” (also called as stenosing tenosynovitis or trigger thumb) etc.
Researchers found (4) that the incidence of hypothyroidism was 1.74-fold higher in the rheumatoid arthritis patients than in people who did not have rheumatoid arthritis. Women had an incidence 3.6-time higher than men. It was not the hypothyroidism that caused the rheumatoid arthritis but rather the rheumatoid arthritis that caused the hyothyroidism. This is noted by the researchers suggestion: ” rheumatoid arthritis patients should be closely monitored to prevent the development of hypothyroidism.
Symptoms Beyond Joint Pain That Maybe Caused By Hypothyroidism
- Weight gain, even with extreme dieting
- Loss of energy, excessive fatigue
- What kind of energy loss? This is unique to the individual but it is usually a demonstrable loss of energy or feeling of fatigue.
1 Grozdinska A, Hofmann E, Schmid M, Hirschfelder U. Prevalence of temporomandibular disorders in patients with Hashimoto thyroiditis. Journal of Orofacial Orthopedics/Fortschritte der Kieferorthopädie. 2018 Jul;79(4):277-88.
2 Vicenti G, Moretti L, De Giorgi S, Caruso I, La Malfa M, Carrozzo M, Solarino G, Moretti B. Thyroid and shoulder diseases: the bases of a linked channel. Journal of biological regulators and homeostatic agents. 2016 Jul 1;30(3):867-70.
3 Iuliana RA, Groppa L, Lorina VU. Musculoskeletal impairment in prymary hypothyroidism. The Medical-Surgical Journal. 2016 Jun 30;120(2):244-51.
4 Huang CM, Sung FC, Chen HJ, Lin CC, Lin CL, Huang PH. Hypothyroidism risk associated with rheumatoid arthritis: A population-based retrospective cohort study. Medicine. 2022 Jan 7;101(1).