Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The joints most commonly affected by rheumatoid arthritis are in the hands, wrists, feet, ankles, knees, shoulders and elbows. The disease typically causes inflammation symmetrically in the body, meaning the same joints are affected on both sides of the body.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may begin suddenly or gradually. Each individual will experience rheumatoid arthritis symptoms differently, but the most common symptoms are:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness, especially in the morning
  • Swelling of the joints
  • Decreased movement
  • Pain that is worse with movement of the joints
  • Bumps over the small joints
  • Difficulty performing activities of daily living, such as tying shoes, opening jars or buttoning shirts
  • Decreased ability to grasp or pinch
  • Fatigue
  • Occasional fever

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.