Patient Comments: Rheumatoid Arthritis - Early Symptoms and Signs

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

A Doctor's View on 15 Early Symptoms and Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

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

Early RA symptoms and signs 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: adekoya, 35-44 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 24

I developed pain in my legs, shoulder blades, ribs, right hand, and eyes. I also developed a high fever, nausea, and dark urine.

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Published: June 23

I was seeing a chiropractor for back, neck, and shoulder pain. He's the one who suggested that I might have arthritis. Sure enough, after two rheumatologists and lab results of a positive RA titer and a strong positive anti-CCP result, I found out I had RA. I had a very demanding and stressful job at the time, and I barely made it out of the bed. I was so stiff; with pain in my hips, knees, hands. I had to quit that job. I'm currently taking methotrexate, Humira, folic acid, and the occasional solumedrol injection. I'm 35 now and am currently dealing with extreme fatigue and pain while trying to work, attend college, and take care of my family.

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Published: June 02

I was an active, healthy male. I was diagnosed with RA at age 44 (9 months after a minor motorcycle accident that injured my left wrist). My symptoms began with a general feeling of fatigue and malaise. Then a few months later, morning numbness in the fronts of both feet that lasted for a few hours. I saw a podiatrist and was mis-diagnosed with "Morton's Neuroma". As my symptoms progressed, I had sharp shoulder, wrist and elbow pains during the night. Then, a gradual stiffening of my right, pinky finger; followed by stiff, sore and swollen fore and index fingers predominately on my right hand, but also on the left. I was diagnosed with RA and Hypo-thyroid initially. After taking "Thyroxin" for about 4 weeks, I began taking "Hydroxychloroquine" and "Naproxen". My thyroid corrected and I stopped taking Thyroxin. My RA symptoms persisted with primarily sore, stiff hands in the mornings (3-4 hrs), sore ankles, a swollen elbow and muscle fatigue. After about 4 months, we added "Methotrexate" for 3 months with some success (no more swollen elbow or sharp shoulder pains and less sore hands), however, my liver enzyme count became elevated too high. I've now (5 months) been taking "Sulfasalazine" (3 grams/day) with "Hydroxychloroquine" (400 mg/day) and am having much less swelling in my hands and ankles now. Some days are better than others. I have much less energy than I used to. I stopped working (6 months after my diagnosis) because the medicine didn't eliminate the pain, fatigue and swelling; and I could no longer move heavy objects without possibly causing permanent damage to my joints. I was approved for Social Security Disability benefits immediately (after initial 6 month waiting period). I'm hopeful that my symptoms will go away one day or at least be controlled with medication.

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Published: May 19

I had been sick from Bronchitis. I complained about feeling "stiff" in my shoulders. They told me it was from coughing. I started having problems walking, my hips hurt. I thought it was because I stopped going to the gym due to the bronchitis. Within a week, I couldn't lift my shoulders off the bed in the morning then to not being able to even pull the blankets up to cover up because my hands hurt so bad. Within two weeks my hands, wrists, hips and feet were in so much pain. Currently I am being managed with Plaquenil and Methotrexate and Prednisone. I have full mobility but tinges of pain every now and then.

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Comment from: Randa, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 05

I have rheumatoid arthritis from 5 years ago. I was taking Plaquenil now RA is 35 my anti CCP is 230 and the doctor wrote for me methotrexate 50 mg and prednisolone 5 mg.

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Comment from: kiran, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 06

I have been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for last thirty years. But it was diagnosed ten years back. I am taking Ayurvedic medicine for the last eight years. Now it is under control but sometimes it is triggered off and then some change in medicine brings it under control.

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Comment from: Scarlet, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 17

I have been experiencing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis since my 20s. I have had acne, swelling in feet and hands but not together, face rash, anxiety, recurring yeast infections, weight gain and more.

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Patient Comments

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