Patient Comments: Rheumatoid Arthritis - Early Symptoms

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

A Doctor's View on 12 Early Symptoms and Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Read the Comment by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, particularly in the early stages, vary differently from person to person. The most common body parts that are initially affected by RA include the small joints of the hands, wrists, and feet, and the knees and hip joints. Joint inflammation causes stiffness. Warmth, redness, and pain may vary in degree. Read the entire Doctor's View

Comment from: Shocked, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 26

Out of the blue, I woke up on January 5, 2016, and felt my hands aching in a way I'd never felt before. Of course, you try to figure it out so I decided that I'd probably clenched my fists all night long. The following night, while the finger/hand pain woke me up constantly, I made a mental note of the position of all my fingers. I'd reposition myself, very careful to have all the fingers straight, not even mildly flexed. Such intense pain. Within three days, both hands were swollen, I had limited range of motion and extreme pain. I couldn't brush my teeth! As the day went by they felt less inflamed but I could tell something was wrong. I made a doctor appointment for the next morning. The doctor suspected rheumatoid arthritis and ordered tons of lab work and 2 days later I was able to see a rheumatologist who diagnosed me based on a very high CCP and presenting symptoms. My RF (rheumatoid factor) was negative. I am taking Plaquenil. I still wonder if this is true! Looking back, I recognize the numbness I kept having in my hands and arms at bedtime, dry scratchy right eye, and dry mouth. The joint pain jumps around.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: nana, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 16

When I was working out at the gym, I began to have difficulty with the biceps machine. Every time I gripped the bar to pull towards me my wrists hurt and I lost strength. Also, I was not able to grip a tenpin bowling ball anymore. This was in fall of 2010. After 4 months of this I saw my primary care physician who ran some tests and sent me to a rheumatologist. He did more extensive lab tests, x-rays and ultrasound of my hands and got a definitive diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. He put me on Plaquenil and Fosamax. He also gave me Voltaren for flare-ups. Fortunately it was caught in the early stages and I am able to work and live life as pain free as possible. I have had a nodule removed from my little finger, and have one on my middle finger. I have an appointment with hand surgeon.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: captshed, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: June 19

I have had AID (auto immune disease) for about 15 years, but until recently, it was mostly in the form of skin lesions. I have now been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and cannot believe how my life has changed in such a short time. From being a very active person, to having trouble walking or holding a golf club is awful. My rheumatologist has me on methotrexate, but it hasn't helped and the pain is constant. I feel as if I have trigger finger in both hands.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: Rstra00, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 15

I really didn't have any symptoms to start with. My feet hurt every morning when I got up but are fine as long as I am moving, and this has gone on for 1 year. My first ANA was positive in August 2014. The RA (rheumatoid arthritis) factor was negative. I started having pains in both knees, both elbows, both wrists and feet. I also have stiffness all over with fatigue. I have no visible swelling or fever during a flare. I went to a rheumatologist who retested me, and this time the RA factor is positive as well as strong positive CCP antibodies. I am a Native American and this runs in my family. I don't do well with side effects so am managing any flares with meditation, exercise, diet, and some natural remedies for now.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: leckertmason, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 21

I work in warehousing, have for the last 30 years. About six months ago the morning stiffness started. Five months ago I felt like something was in my eye. There was nothing there, real dry eye. In the last 3 months, I started with my left hand and wrist swelling along with the warmth and redness. Now, my feet, ankles, knees, wrists and elbows swell and hurt. This last week my neck hurts like heck. When my feet hurt I end up limping. I am assuming this is why my sciatic nerve starts acting up. This is mostly affecting my left side so much my husband was afraid I maybe had a stroke. Last week I finally saw a rheumatologist and she ordered a bunch more blood tests. I walk all day long, on concrete, wearing steel toed boots. I leave work every day limping and most days I'm in tears by the time I get in my truck. I also have scoliosis with 2 half missing vertebrae, one in the lower back and one in the upper back. They have me on methylprednisolone at the moment. It is helping with the swelling and some of the pain.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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?

Patient Comments are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on MedicineNet. The opinions expressed in the comments section are of the author and the author alone. MedicineNet does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Alert If you think you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.