Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can be related to the joints themselves or may be systemic (involving the whole body). Symptoms typically come and go and result from inflammation. Joint aches and stiffness, muscle aches, low-grade fever, fatigue, lack of appetite, and loss of energy are characteristic of active disease. Joints can become warm, swollen, reddened, painful, and tender. Joint pain and stiffness, particularly early in the morning, are often early symptoms. Usually, multiple joints on both sides of the body are affected. Depending on the specific joints that are affected, other possible symptoms include limping, hoarseness, and painful walking. In children, crying, irritability, and poor appetite are often observed. Firm lumps or firm bumps under the skin (subcutaneous nodules called rheumatoid nodules) can occur around the elbows and fingers where there is frequent pressure.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
Main Article on Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms and Signs
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Famous Faces With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Learn more about the famous faces of rheumatoid arthritis such as Lucille Ball, Glenn Frey, and more....
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Exercises Slideshow: Joint-Friendly Fitness Routines
Regular exercise boosts fitness and helps reverse joint stiffness for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Our experts offer...
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms & Treatment
What is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? Learn about juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Discover rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms,...
Rheumatoid Arthritis Quiz: What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
How is rheumatoid arthritis different from other forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and gout? Take the Rheumatoid...
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms and Signs
Examples of Medications for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms and Signs
- abatacept, Orencia
- Adalimumab (Humira)
- adalimumab, Humira
- anakinra, Kineret
- aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid, Bayer, Ecotrin, and others)
- celecoxib (Celebrex)
- certolizumab, Cimzia
- chlorambucil - oral, Leukeran
- cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
- cyclosporine - intravenous, Sandimmune
- cyclosporine - oral, Sandimmune
- cyclosporine solution - oral, Sandimmune
- etanercept, Enbrel
- etodolac, Lodine (Discontinued)
- gold sodium thiomalate; aurothiomalate, Myochrysine
- golimumab (Simponi, Simponi Aria)
- hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
- ibuprofen (Advil, Children's Advil/Motrin, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin, PediaCare Fever, and others)
- infliximab, Remicade
- ketoprofen (Discontinued brands: Nexcede, Orudis, Oruvail, Actron)
- leflunomide, Arava
- methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall)
- naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)
- penicillamine, Cuprimine, Depen
- Remicade vs. Humira
- rituximab (Rituxan)
- sulfasalazine, Azulfidine
- tocilizumab, Actemra
- Tofacitinib citrate (Xeljanz)