Bone disorders with increased osteoclastic bone resorption are frequently associated with bone pain and inhibitors of osteoclasts reduce bone pain. Osteoclasts degrade bone minerals by secreting protons through the vacuolar H+-ATPase, creating acidic microenvironments. Because acidosis is a well-known cause of pain, we reasoned that osteoclasts cause pain through proton secretion. We explored this using an animal model in which a single subcutaneous injection of the complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) in the hind-paw caused inflammatory hyperalgesia (hyper-responsiveness to noxious stimuli). Osteoclastic bone resorption was increased in the metatarsal bones in the CFA-injected hind-paws. CFA-induced hyperalgesia was significantly suppressed by the bisphosphonates, zoledronic acid (ZOL) and alendronate and osteoprotegerin. c-src-deficient mice in which osteoclasts are inherently dysfunctional exhibited reduced CFA-induced hyperalgesia. Repeated subcutaneous injections of parathyroid hormone-related protein into the hind-paw also induced hyperalgesia with increased osteoclastic bone resorption. The hyperalgesia was associated with increased mRNA expression of acid-sensing ion channel (ASIC) 1a, 1b and 3 in the ipsi-lateral dorsal root ganglions (DRGs) by RT-PCR and c-Fos in the ipsi-lateral spinal dorsal horn by immunohistochemistry. Of note, ZOL decreased the ASIC1a mRNA expression and c-Fos. Treatment of the DRG cell line F-11 with acid (pH5.5) increased ASIC1a, 1b and 3 mRNA expression and nuclear c-Fos expression. The ASIC blocker amiloride inhibited acid-induced c-Fos expression in F-11 cells. Moreover, F-11 cells transfected with the transient receptor potential channel vanilloid subfamily member 1 (TRPV1) showed increased acid-induced nuclear c-Fos expression compared with parental F-11 cells. Finally, bafilomycin A1, an inhibitor of the vacuolar H+-ATPase, reversed the hyperalgesia and down-regulated ASIC1a mRNA expression in the DRGs. These results led us to propose that osteoclasts play a part in CFA-induced inflammatory pain through an activation of the acid-sensing receptors including ASICs and TRPV1 by creating acidosis.