Bone pain or tenderness

Definition

Bone pain or tenderness is aching or other discomfort in one or more bones.

Alternative Names

Aches and pains in bones; Pain - bones

Considerations

Bone pain is less common than joint pain and muscle pain. The source of bone pain may be clear, such as from a fracture following an accident. Other causes, such as cancer that spreads (metastasizes) to the bone, may be less obvious.

Causes

Bone pain can occur with injuries or conditions such as:

Home Care

See your health care provider if you have bone pain and do not know why it is occurring.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Take any bone pain or tenderness very seriously. Contact your provider if you have any unexplained bone pain.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your provider will ask you about your medical history and do a physical exam.

Some questions that may be asked include:

You may have the following tests:

Depending on the cause of the pain, your provider may prescribe:

If pain is related to thinning bones, you may need treatment for osteoporosis.

References

Jones RL. Malignant tumors of bone, sarcomas, and other soft tissue neoplasms. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 192.

Kim C, Kaar SG. Commonly encountered fractures in sports medicine. In: Miller MD, Thompson SR. eds. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 10.

Weber TJ. Osteoporosis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 230.

Whyte MP. Osteonecrosis, osteosclerosis/hyperostosis, and other disorders of bone. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 234.


Review Date: 5/3/2021
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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