Joint pain can be an early symptom of many
different diseases. In
rheumatoid arthritis, symptoms often develop slowly
over a period of weeks or months. Fatigue and stiffness are usually early
symptoms. Weight loss and a low-grade fever can also
Joint symptoms include:
- Painful, swollen, tender, stiff
joints. The same joints on both sides of the body
(symmetrical) are usually affected, especially the
hands , wrists, elbows,
feet , ankles, knees, or neck.
stiffness. Joint stiffness may develop after long periods of sleeping or
sitting. It lasts at least 60 minutes and often up to several
- Bumps (nodules). Rheumatoid nodules ranging in
size from a pea to a mothball develop in nearly one-third of people who have
Nodules usually form over pressure points in the body
such as the elbows, knuckles, spine, and lower leg bones.
In addition to specific joint symptoms, rheumatoid arthritis can cause
symptoms throughout the body (systemic). These include:
- A loss of
- Weight loss.
- Mild fever.
Some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may be similar
to symptoms of
other health conditions.
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
June 4, 2012
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