The signs and symptoms of underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) vary widely, depending on the severity of the hormone deficiency. For some people, low levels of thyroid hormone 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 knee joint and small joints in the hands and feet
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Treatment of these joint and muscle problems is often directed at the underlying thyroid disorder. Thyroid hormone treatment often helps dramatically. Pain relievers may help, too.
Keep in mind that hypothyroidism can increase your 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.