Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Link between Creatine and Chronic Joint Pain?

Creatine Monohydrate also sold in various other forms under the names of Creatine Anhydrous, Creatine Ethyl Ester, Creatine Phosphate and others, is a chemical normally found in the body, mostly in muscles. The body makes Creatine and it can be obtained from certain foods. Fish and meats are good sources of creatine. Creatine can also be made in the laboratory, hence the supplement - Creatine.

Creatine is commonly used for enhancing exercise performance and increasing muscle mass in athletes. There is some science supporting the use of Creatine in improving the athletic performance of young, healthy people during brief high-intensity activity such as anaerobic sports. However it is believed not to be very helpful for older athletes, say in their early 40's or older.

Creatine use is widespread among professional and amateur athletes and has been acknowledged by well-known athletes such as Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, and John Elway.

Creatine has also been used in treatment for congestive heart failure (CHF), depression, bipolar disorder, Parkinson’s disease, diseases of the muscles and nerves, an eye disease called gyrate atrophy, and high cholesterol. It is also used to slow the worsening of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease), rheumatoid arthritis, McArdle’s disease, and for various muscular dystrophies.

Even though Creatine is allowed by the International Olympic Committee, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and professional sports, MyAchingKnees had found some research to support that Creatine does have side effects, some of which can contribute to chronic joint pain.

Some of the on-line Creatine sellers advertise as follows: ” The best part about creatine-no adverse effects have been reported in any studies. NONE! Creatine is totally safe and effective. Creatine has never been shown harmfully toxic. “

To this I say Bull Crap! I have personally relayed information from several body building friends who will longer use Creatine since they experienced pain and in some cases severe pain in their joints, most notably the knees and elbow joints when cycling Creatine through 4 and 6 week supplementation cycles. In most of these personally relayed accounts, the joint pain stayed chronic for several months, but has not appeared to be permament.

Some of the chronic Joint Pain may be associated with tendonitis, as the tendons and ligaments on the joints cannot catch up with the growth in muscle, leading to pain and sometimes tremendous pain in these joints.

I have had other weight room addicts tell me that Creatine supplementation requires much greater amounts of hydration for the muscle cells and the kidneys and that when they cycle on Creatine they stop running as running not only requires more water, but puts a much greater strain on the knee joints.

Although Creatine appears safe for adults to use at the doses recommended by manufacturers, the long term side effects are just not known. I do not think the possible gains outweigh the potential risks.


  1. I just wanted you to know three times I have gone on Creatine Monohydrate and three times within 5 days my shoulders and elbows hurt so bad I cannot pick up a gallon of milk. I am done with the stuff... it has a side effect on me and I know it is what causes the pain in my shoulders and elbows. No change in weights or routine, just tried to add the creatine back in, third to fifth day impossible to live with the pain.

  2. I think creatine has caused joint pain for me

    I have been taking 5 grams creatine monohydrate for 4 weeks. For the past 1 to 2 weeks, my finger, wrist and elbow joints have been kind of sore and achy. I think this cannot be blamed on increased strength or training, because I have not been doing anything with my hands/arms more than usual. I do not really work out, except for trying to strengthen my quads after knee surgery, so that can't explain hand pain.

    I am only 29 years old, so this sudden joint pain seemed strange, and I realized maybe it could be the creatine, and apparently, at least a few others have reported similar experiences in forums. Perhaps I have not been drinking enough water, which could cause joint pain if the creatine is causing my muscles to pull water, and there is not as much fluid in my joints. I will try increasing my water intake. If that does not work, I will stop creatine. I will try to remember to report back the results.

  3. I have absolutly concluded that cycling creatine for 4-6 weeks for me has caused terrible knee pain, when i cycle off creatine my knees feel great, then when im back on it starts to hurt again, so for me ill get off of it for good this time and yes yes yes I drink plenty of water.

  4. can you tell me, how long after stopping a creatine cycle does the pain usually go away for you?

  5. I'm fairly sure my shoulder pains are caused by creatine. Onset is around 2-3 days, and symptoms subside within 1-2 weeks. It's a shame, because I notice definite improvements in performance. But the shoulder pain prevents me sleeping, and becomes unbearable after a few weeks.

    1. Did you notice any improvement since going off creatine? I'm taking Beast Creature creatine and my shoulders have started to hurt so bad it wakes me up at night. I will stop taking it today and I hope I'll get some relief. I did however see positive results in power but I can't take this pain and no sleep. Also noticed joint pains.

  6. I've been taking creatine for about 4 months now. The muscle gain is incredible and I have packed on around 25 pounds. There is a noticeable difference in appearance for sure. But, I do have pain in my wrists and elbows and arm tendons. I believe it's directly correlated to creatine intake and the inability of my tendons and joints to strengthen in proportion to my muscle growth.

  7. Same here. I get great results but the pain in my hip lexors is debilitating and keeps me fom running.

  8. Just starter creatine about 2 weeks ago. Now suddenly my right shoulder hurts. I've been training for 3 years and have never experienced any joint pain. The muscle building effect from creatine is great, but dosen't help so much when iam unable to train due to the pain.


  10. Third time cycling creatine and third time with bilateral knee pain. I drink almost a gallon of water daily. I increase my pr squats weekly but no more than 2.5 lbs.

  11. i took creatin twice this week to do cross training,ie weights and a bit of fast hill running.i did nothing more than i do normally without it but i am suffering with severe pain in my hips ,thighs and calves.I have never had this sort of pain before after training ,even when marathon training.Surely it must be the creatin.I can barely move at work and it seems to be much worse at night time.

  12. If creatine is so bad for your joints, why is it sometimes recommended by doctors to take low doses of creatine for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?
    Seems to me some of you are doing it wrong - considering this and the fact that the ratio of people having pain compared to those who do not is minimal. The workouts you are doing are likely straining your joints or your muscles - taking creatine makes people think they can handle a lot more weight and end up hurting themselves.
    The only medically backed up side effect of creatine is possible straining of the kidneys if too large of doses are taken.

  13. The other cause can be the brand/product. There is pharmaceutical grade creatine and there is junk. Don't forget fillers, additives, and the fact that supplements are unsupervised. The FDA does not monitor supplements and independent labs have test many supplements and found only trace amounts of the ingredients listed. Research the brands available and then make your selection. Also, double your water intake when cycling on creatine. Your muscles are sponges and will draw it out of the joints if its not satisfied.

  14. Creatine can be a factor in dehydration, and dehydration can cause joint problems, so it is certainly plausible that creatine is a factor in joint pain. I have stopped taking creatine and started drinking a lot of water every day, and my knee has stopped hurting as it had been, mysteriously, for the past couple of months.

  15. I'm 33 and getting back into bodybuilding after a few years of being fairly out of shape. I've been weight training around 7 hours a week for the past 4 months and about 4 weeks ago began supplementing creatine. The muscle gains with creatine are definite, but like other commenters here I have begun to experience unaccountable joint pain in my knees and shoulders. I am very experienced in weight training and am fully conscious of the need to protect myself from injury; especially now that I'm past 30. I was also a certified weight trainer with the IWA; so I know the ins and outs. Over the past 2-3 weeks this joint pain has become progressively worse to the point where I fear joint injury might occur. My diet is strictly regimented and I haven't started any other forms of supplementation. I alter my workouts every 2 weeks to keep shocking my muscles for fast growth but I don't do anthing extreme and am always very careful not to overload my joints. Creatine is the only thing I can think of that could possibly account for the pain.