The hallmark symptom for rheumatoid arthritis is morning stiffness which will last for at least one hour. In comparison to the stiffness in osteoarthritis, it will usually clear up within thirty minutes. Even if you remain motionless for a few moments, the body will still be stiff. After you have loosened up, movement will become easier again.
Swelling and Pain
Pain as well as swelling in the joints will occur at a minimum of six weeks before the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis will be considered. The joints which are inflamed will usually be swollen and will often have a warm sensation and feels boggy when touched. Oftentimes, the pain will occur symmetrically but can be more severe on one area of the body based on which hand will the person makes use more often.
Specific Joints Being Affected
Even if rheumatoid arthritis will practically develop in the wrists and knuckles all the time, areas which also are often affected are the knees and joints of the ball of the foot. Certainly, a lot of joints will be affected which include areas of the shoulders, elbows, tips, cervical spine, jaw or the temporomandibular joint and also the joints in between the tiniest bones inside the inner ear. Usually, rheumatoid arthritis will not show up in the fingertips where osteoarthritis is most common. However, the joints located at the base of the fingers will frequently become painful.
In approximately 20% of individuals with RA, inflammation of the tiny blood vessels will result to nodules or lumps which can be located under the skin. These nodules are similar to the size of a pea or slightly bigger which are often located close to the elbow though they will show up anywhere else. Nodules can be present all throughout the disease’s course. Not too often will you see nodules become sore and infected especially if they are located in areas where stress occurs like the ankles. It is also during rare occasions that nodules will reflect the presence of rheumatoid vasculitis which is a condition that will affect the blood vessels located in the kidneys, lungs and other organs.
Buildup of Fluid
Fluid can accumulate especially in the ankles. In several cases, the joint sac which is behind the knee will accumulate fluid and can form to what is referred to as the Baker cyst. This is similar to a tumor and will at times extend down to the rear of the calf resulting to pain. Baker cysts will frequently develop in individuals who do not have RA.
Symptoms which are Flu-like
Symptoms like weight loss, fever and fatigue can accompany the occurrence of early rheumatoid arthritis. Several people describe these symptoms just like the symptoms of cold or flu except that the symptoms of RA will last for a long time.
Symptoms in Children
In children, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is also termed as Still’s disease and will typically be headed with high fever and shaking chills together with pain as well as swelling in a lot of joints. A skin rash in pink color can also be present.