Patient Comments: Rheumatoid Arthritis - Early Symptoms

What were your symptoms at the onset of your rheumatoid arthritis?

Published: May 06

I have extreme pain that seems to travel in my body. It may last for one month, or it may last for over a year. Right now, my fingers and joints are very sore. My legs and ankles swell terribly each day. My legs, especially in the rear upper part of my legs, hurt when I walk or stand. I am starting to lose my balance a lot. I cannot put on my underwear or shorts without leaning on something.

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Published: May 06

One morning, I woke up with sore hands, which lasted a couple of weeks. Then it spread to my fingers, wrists, shoulders, elbows, knees, feet, and lower back within four weeks. My fingers get very stiff and swollen. I'm not in crucial pain at this time. Treatment has not yet been decided. I am managing at this time with ibuprofen. I believe this disease began after a very stressful time in my life.

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Published: April 28

When I was 27, I noticed a red mark on the back of my hand. It was about the size of a half dollar. Then later that day I could not open the door of my car. I thought I had banged my hand, but later it got so bad that I went to the doctor and was told it was RA. I am now 72, and I'm not as bad as a lot of people, but I'm in constant pain. I have taken just about everything available. I am on my way to a rheumatologist today and hope to get some relief.

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Published: April 28

I have extremely sensitive feet, with pain in both feet and lower legs, body stiffness with flu-like symptoms, and a low-grade fever.

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Published: April 24

I started having joint pain in my knees and hands in my teens, but I was only diagnosed two and a half years ago (I am now 40), six months after my second son was born. My doctor said that my RA had been in remission for almost two years due to back-to-back pregnancies. When it flared up, I had excruciating pain in my knees, feet, and hands. My fingers would actually curl up because of the pain. I had to use a cane to assist with walking. I also kept getting the hives, once so bad I passed out. Six months after my first appointment with my primary care physician and allergist, I was sent to the rheumatologist. He immediately diagnosed it as RA, however, I don't have the RA factor present. Today I take every day as it comes. Some are good, and some aren't so great. But with two very active little boys in the house, I don't have a choice but to keep going. They are what keep me positive and moving.

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Published: April 23

I had a very bad case of fifth disease in 2000. I was so sick with it for eight months. I had such bad arthritis in all my joints, especially in my feet, that I couldn't walk at times. All my lymph nodes in my body were swollen for eight months. Now, seven years later, I am having trouble with my right foot and two of my toes on that same foot. Also my lower back, left elbow, and hips bother me. I had blood work done, and it indicated that I'm in the beginnings of rheumatoid arthritis, although it isn't active. My back is stiff and my hips hurt, especially the ball of my right foot and the second and third toe on my right foot are slightly spread apart. I am eating well, and I walk for an hour five days a week, which really helps. I am trying to keep my weight down. I have a job which requires sitting, so I make sure I get up and move often. I use weights and exercise, which also helps. The key is moving. I am 48 years old.

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Published: April 22

I was diagnosed at 25 years old after months of testing. I was very angry and in denial. I told my doctor I couldn't possibly have RA because that was "an old woman's disease." He told me otherwise. I live with pain every day, with some days being worse than others.

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Published: April 21

I had joint and muscle pain of varying degrees of intensity for months. I fell in the street twice, and my right leg often would buckle without warning.

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Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Rheumatoid Arthritis - Treatments Question: What treatments have been effective for your rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis - Prognosis Question: What's the prognosis for your rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis - Diet Question: Discuss the diet or other lifestyle changes you've made to relieve symptoms of RA.
Rheumatoid Arthritis - Diagnosis Question: What led to your rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis?

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