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911 Responses to “What Is the First Symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis?”

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    1. Alanda Lindsay says:

      I was diagnosed 9 years ago thanks to a local mom who had just been diagnosed and it did start in my feet. I am only able to wear crocs because my toes hurt when crushed in regular shoes. I would love to wear some nice shoes. Unfortunately I am on Disability income in Canada and cannot afford to even eat properly. My teeth started going, so I had some pulled. I now have two sets of teeth which line up for chewing, so eating a healthy diet is not only unaffordable to me, but I can’t eat the food. I had a back pay cheque when I first got my disability pension and I ate well for 3 months and I never felt better. I worked out every morning and was able to even go on my tip toes briefly. The money ran out and now I am back to being mostly disfunctional. I have decided to be a nutritionist. I will retrain. I am upgrading right now and finding the fatigue challenging. I need money for the food so I can think and make money.
      That is the current circle. Oh well, trudging along….

    2. Barbara says:

      I’m being evaluated for RA. My grandmother (dad’s mom) had it, as does his sister/my aunt, who is homebound with RA. My dad had debilitating arthritis with three back surgeries, and though he was never diagnosed with RA, a rheumatologist checked him out annually to see if he had developed it. I’m not sure if there’s some sort of borderline condition? I wish he was still alive so I could ask about that.

      After complaining about joint pain to my primary care physician for the past year, I finally had enough. While I’m overweight, and I can’t say I was surprised to feel some pain in my knees and hips, I was surprised that my left elbow developed intermittent pain that makes it difficult to move it sometimes. My right ring finger has been stiff and painful on and off for the past year. When it’s really bad, my fingers on the left hand also hurt. At the moment, I can only make a light fist. It takes a lot of effort and some pain to touch the pads of my fingers to my palm. A month or so ago, my right knee started to really hurt, especially when bent.

      My feet have hurt for the past year or so, too. When my girlfriend asked what it felt like, the best description I could give is that it feels like being barefoot on a rocky beach. I was stunned when others here described it exactly the same. I’ve had plantar fasciitis in both feet before, and I know what that feels like, and it’s not like this — though like plantar fasciitis, it hurts most when getting out of bed or when I’ve been sitting a while.

      The knees were the last straw, and I told my doctor that I wanted to know what was going on. I mentioned my family history and he sent me for ESR, ANA and RF factor tests. ANA and RF were negative, but my ESR was 52 (expected range for my age is 0-20). Today, he said we’d test again in three weeks and if it’s still high, he’ll refer me to a rheumatologist.

      I’m not sure if this is RA or not. From what I can tell, it’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle figuring it out. What I do know from my family is that the damage it can cause is very real, and if something’s going on, I need to know now before it gets worse.

      I’m so thankful for this site and all the posters on this thread. I’m curious and anxious to see what happens.

    3. Kathy says:

      I wonder what my first symptom was. When I was 12 years-old, I would have to soak my swollen, stiff, achy hands in warm water in the mornings before school. My mom took me to the doctor who said that there was nothing wrong with me. My knees were also painful growing up and could never run but I was active with horses and other sports. I was much better through my twenties and up to age 41. I trained with weights and jogged on the treadmill 4-5 days per week. I noticed that I was usually winded and dropped the weight bar on myself because an arm just quit working. Over the next year, various problems like fatigue, tendinitis in elbow(s), shoulder pain(s). Needed 3-4 pillows to support various body parts. Then I got a ‘virus’. I felt awful, tired achy for a couple of days. After a few days of this malaise, I awoke in excruciating pain throughout my legs and arms. I could barely walk. I had to call my son to take me to the doctor… I was never again okay. However, I was not diagnosed with RD until 2/2016. I spent years in pain (not as bad as some stories that I have read), even a year of not being able to move my right thumb, but no diagnoses. I was atypical. Even though my fingers were turning, etc. I was told that I was depressed and I suffer with anxiety! Of course, I’m upset and not happy. I’m in constant pain, trying to not get fired from work and cannot get help from medical professionals. My only good days were those after a shot to clear a severe ‘eye allergy’, Dry eyes, rashes, Anyway, when does this process really start?

    4. Wendy smith says:

      Mine started in the heels of both feet felt like a screen door slamed on them. This was in 2006 many trials and tribulations since then. Living it a day at a time.

    5. Dane says:

      I am a female and will soon be 50 years old. The past 3 weeks I’ve had an inflammed, painful finger. I have been diagnosed with Hashimotos (16+ years ago) and Vasculitis (4 years ago). I assumed for the first week the swelling and pain in my finger was Vasculitis.

      I’ve been on Plaquinel for 4 years.

      It hadn’t gone away after a week and a half but was getting worse (spreading to other finger joints) and getting more and more painful including up in to my wrist and elbow. BTW, the original finger had gone wonky overnight pointing off to the left rather than straight. Eventually it was also kinked (curling) in to itself.

      So off to emergency I go thinking they could send me for a biopsy for Vasculitis. The Emerg Dr. said it was an infection and sent me off with a script for antibiotics.

      Fast forward 7 days and I’m back at Emerg…finger is the same. New Dr. looks at it and says, it’s RA. Gave me a script for Prednisone (40mg/day for 5 days) and told me to see my Family Dr. for Xrays to confirm RA.

      Well, I sat on the fence yesterday about taking the Prednisone. I found your awesome website and have learned a lot about the drug. By the evening last night the joint pain was in my other elbow and shoulder so I took the first dose of Prednisone.

      2.5 hours later my finger was uncurled and the pain was almost gone! Wow. Never have I taken a medication and had such fast response. My finger still points off to the side but at least I can now open my hand and not have it curled up being totally obvious.

      So my first symptom (according to Drs.) would be my hand….

      BUT: I’ve lost my appetite for the last 2 months and dropped 8+ lbs. For the last 6 months I’ve had pain in my finger joints and mild swelling off and on.

      Since my late teens I would have painful joints. Specialists always said my joints are just hyper mobile. As recently as 2 years ago…hyper mobile joints no evidence on xray.

      I see my Family Dr. in 4 days and will be sent for xray at the walk-in clinic in the hospital. Referral to my Rheumy will no doubt follow.

      I really hope I only have to do these 5 days on Prednisone. I have more than my share of anxiety as it is. I am scared of more.

    6. Nanette Diel says:

      The first symptom of RA was a tiny red bump between my knuckles. I thought I had a thorn in it. I ask my PA to see if he could remove it. Upon looking at it he ask if I had ever been told I had RA. I had not. After a positive RA test I was sent to an RA doctor who concluded that I did indeed have the disease. I have very few problems with it. I was told it was found early and treatment was begun. I now use Humera Inj. with improved test at this time.

    7. Brenda Lawrence says:

      My RA started with my left shoulder and elbow. I would wake up in pain and could hardly move my shoulder and elbow. Later my feet/ankles were hit and I didn’t understand what was going on. My feet were so painful that I almost had to crawl to get to the bathroom when I got out of bed in them mornings. Then came my fingers on my left hand, my thumb to be specific. Now thumbs all fingers. I have what I call a “knot” on my thumb now, and “knots” starting on other fingers, but left thumb is the worst. Used to be able to get a ring on my thumb, but not anymore because it won’t pass over the “knot”. I must have some kind of “knots” under my toes on the balls of my feet because I swear it feels like I am walking on stones or have something stuck under certain toes. But when I look, there isn’t anything stuck. Knees came next, along with the back and everywhere else. It sucks having RA, but to add to my “joy”, I also have Lupus and Fibro.

    8. Robin says:

      I’ve had issues with things tearing. Like in my shoulders and two or 3 times, my calf muscle tore off of my achilles tendon. I kept thinking that I had some sort of connective tissue disorder. I travel a lot with work and I specifically remember one day we had been on the road for about 5 hours and when I got out of the car, my hips were killing me. I think the torn muschles and tendons were my first warning. It took years to finally get a diagnosis. Had a dr that was looking at all the signs in the labwork, but for whatever reason, wouldn’t diagnose it. Went to another dr, she looked at my chart and within about 2 minutes, she said “you have RA.” My hips, feet, shoulders, and elbows seem to be what gives me the most problems. Constantly nauseous, fatigued, and just not feeling well. RA SUCKS!

    9. Sonya says:

      Hi I’ve just scrolled down a few comment I’ve been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis about 4 years. It started off in my wrist and fingers. But was not given anything for it. Because it Wasn’t bad enough but lately I’ve been getting it in my toes they start off numb then the pain sets in. And it feels like I’m walks with stones in my shoes I’m wondering is it arthritis or something else getting a bit worried ?

    10. Katie says:

      Mine was inflammation in the eyes and then my right ankle and shortly followed by left ankle. Then within a few months my feet and hands. I always referred to it like walking on rocks as well. My fingers epscially the first 2 on both hands are always painful.

    11. Kirk says:

      I have not been officially diagnosed with RA as of yet, but everyone so far is leaning towards it as my issue. My first symptom was a year ago and it was my elbows. I thought it was mouse elbow and thought nothing of it. Just In the last month I am no longer able to move my hands for several hours in the morning. I don’t think I have slept this last week except when my body finally gives out. Just a few minutes into lying down my hands and arms are stiff, numbness will shoot through my arms and hands, I shake, cry in my sleep when I finally get some. My only mild relieve is to not stop moving. If I stop I feel I will die, one more thing to do, just don’t stop… . That’s my first.

    12. Dee Channel says:

      This site has opened my eyes. I am astounded by the lack of pertinent new data available…even a main arthritis website is loaded with old information so I thank you for your efforts to educate patients & DOCTORS!
      I don’t have a clue when my RA started, I noticed foot pain, only my left, for a few months & then my right knee started swelling & it didn’t go away but my insurance didn’t move with me so it was 3 mos, before I was able to see a primary doc. I was amazingly lucky because he immediately suspected RA or Lyme disease. RA was the winner & the pain was in an ever-increasing # of areas including my hands & wrists but that most certainly was not the starting point. While my primary was on top of things, the rheumatologist is seriously old school :(
      I hope in the near future I can locate one who is constantly searching for the latest info instead of relying on what he/she learned 10 or 20 or 30 yrs ago in med school!

    13. Kris says:

      It attacked my feet first and started when I was 16.

    14. Siyabonga Motau says:

      Whenever I go down the stairs my hand stops working, I don’t know what causes this, please help.

    15. LOL!! I can’t type at this point t night/ I will have to fil yu in later:(

      I’m sorry…

    16. Ardell Simon says:

      Mine started with Uveitis (had it 2x), than left shoulder (diagnosed as rotator cuff). than right shoulder ( same diagnosis) moved to ankles and wrists, finally diagnosed with RD/RA after few years.

    17. Brenda Jones says:

      Wow..I have read almost all of these comments,And all sounds so fimiliar I to have RA. I tell you there are so many days where I wish that all I could do is just stay in bed all day because my pain is so bad that I just cannot stand it. I have had my right thumb fused,my index finger, middle finger, my left hand index finger, middle finger, all fused because the pain was just way to much to bare, now if I could just fuse my whole body,well now that would be awesome.hee hee .. I do not know about some of you, but I know that so many people get tired of hearing me always say that this hurts, that hurts, I just feel like Dog Poo,today. This with my right leg, knee, calf of my leg,just started hurting me really bad about 2 weeks ago, when I lay down to go to sleep my right leg, knee hurts so so bad and then on and off my toes go numb, I’m like what the hell now what’s going on, so I typed in through Google my stomach and It brought me to this page,And I’m so happy that it did because there are so many other people in the same boat as myself,so I feel like that you guys understand exactly what I’m going through. Is anybody taking any of the Arthritis med that are available ??? I have heard so many bad side effects so I have chosen not to take any of them, yes I do have to take pain pills,daily but hey we have gotta do what we gotta do.

    18. barbara says:

      I just was diagnosed with ra about 1 month ago. The doctor said I have severe RA. I have been suffering for about 2yrs or so. I kept getting worse then better then worse. I have nodules on my fingers and elbow is swollen with nodules. I was so tired and in so much pain I decided to go to doctor. I am on predisone now feel so much better. But still in pain in feet and hands, Does it ever stop all the way?

      • Barbara, I don’t know if it will ever stop all the way for you. I have never had disease activity go down at all – except for with steroids like prednisone. But I hear others who actually can get a “remission” or very low disease activity. So I hope that for you. If you already have nodules, then you likely have severe disease and it has been there a while. You need a very attentive dr who will listen closely to you and treat you as aggressively as possible.

    19. barbara says:

      Oh I forgot to mention my fingers are really bent and look awful.

    20. Victoria Brown says:

      Sounds like what I have except I have Lyme disease

    21. Mollie says:

      I think my first symptom was back and chest pain. My doctor at the time was convinced I didn’t have ra even though I told him my sister and niece had ra. A few years later, my left jaw and left arm hurt so badly I ended up in the emergency room. I thought I was having a heart attack. I wasn’t and the er dr was very puzzled. Another time my left shoulder was hurting and I went to my heart dr. Again, no heart problems.
      He was convinced I had torn my rotator cuff and advised me to get an MRI. I didn’t. Then my hands started hurting and I convinced the nurse practitioner to run tests. That’s when my suspicions were confirmed. So it can start anywhere.

    22. Christie says:

      My first symptom was unrelenting thoracic back pain with fever. It progressed very quickly & now my whole body is affected. My doctor was amazing & immediately tested for ra even though my 27 year old self had no clue what it was. That’s when I received my diagnosis. I also have thoracic levoscoliosis which is brutal by itself.

    23. Marla says:

      I have been seeing them for over a year. All my labs have come back negative, but I have had frozen shoulder in (L), bursitis and tendinitis in the (R) one. I now have pain in hands and feet worse at night. My feet are beginning to hurt during the day, as well. Ibuprofen takes the edge off during the day, but nothing helps the night time pain. I don’t have any nodules or joint deformities. Just feel lime I am walking on rocks, too!

    24. Deborah Kelly says:

      I “knew” I had RA for about five years before I sought care. My mother and sister already had RA so I knew what those swollen, achy joints and a sudden need for naps meant. I did not immediately go to a doctor because my sister spent years seeking a diagnosis. Eventually, I had a car accident in which my knuckles were slammed against the steering wheel. I went to my GP, showed him my hands, and told him I was pretty sure I had RA. He asked me if I was depressed. I insisted he complete RA testing. When the results came in, he arranged for me to see a rheumatologist the next day.

    25. Christine says:

      My only symptoms is a little puffy between the palm and the knuckles on the fingers, I asked my doctor when I had my physical exam. I have no pain or swollen joints. My doctor refered to a specialist. At the visit, the doctor examed all my joints and she said everything was normal. She send me home after took my blood. After blood test. The doctor said I have RA since my blood work is positive. I have one question, should I start the drug treatment even I have no pain yet?

    26. A Yvette Pilch says:

      My first symtoms of RA was to have Poly Myalgia. Terrible debilitating body pain. Blood test showed negative for PM. And additional tests positive for RA. I was put on high dosage of prednisone, then dosage reduced as pain came under control. When I get home from my family visit RA doctor will try other meds to get me off prednisone.My flare-ups tend to be varied. The worst one seems to be the ache across the back of my shoulder blades, shoulders, down my arms.Then of course the cough that goes with it.
      I also at times wake up at night with the shocks to different parts of the body. The other stuff too, bruising, fingers locking, tiredness, cramping in my legs.
      I have counted at least 5 of other listed unusual symtoms that I have as well.
      Thanks so much for having your site. At least I know I’m not a hypochondriac. That thought alone depressed me.
      One last word to end my whining, I’m enjoying my visit with family.

    27. the ‘only way’ you can or will get a correct RA diagnosis is to find a Rheumatologist. They can tell you very quickly by their RA specific bloodwork.
      I also found out I am immune system challenged and have been under the care of an excellent immunologist (Tampa, Florida) for a couple of years. RA itself causes our immune system numbers to drop…I now have to have weekly infusion to keep my numbers up where they belong and I still developed Whooping cough (of all things) last yr and was hospitalized for it

    28. Julie Greer says:

      For me, RA began in my shoulders. I woke up one morning and could not move my arm and shoulder ? I went to the emergency room and X-rays were done. They told me to see an orthopedic doctor because nothing was showing up on the X-ray. They said I had a torn rotator cuff. Needless to say, it was not a torn rotator cuff.
      But thinking back in time, I started having trouble with my feet first. I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. However, I now know that it was RA all along.
      I have just now been officially diagnosed with RA and will begin my fight.
      Prayers for all ?

    29. Theresa Halverson says:

      I am going to make an appt to see doctor. So much of what I am reading sounds like what I am going through. 1 year ago my shoulder acted up and was told I had frozen shoulder. I had steroid injections and physical therapy which helped, but it is coming back and in the other shoulder now too. I have been experiencing pain in feet and have been waking up to a big to locked up and arch of same foot hurting. I also have a thumb and index finger locked up in morning too. All on same side. It’s getting worse. Before the locking up of toe and fingers, my heels of both feet ached so bad I would try to squeeze them as tightly as I could which lesson ed the pain. My feet and figures swell up in this heat and humidity by days end. So reading comments here has lead me to believe that I have to be persistent in having Dr’s get down to what is going on with me. I found this forum by searching my symptoms which I was trying to figure out why my toe and fingers are progressively wosening and locking up on me in mornings.

    30. Irina says:

      Hi, my name is Irina and I like your site and think it helps people to understand ra and not feel very lonely.
      I was diagnosed ra but it is not really confirmed yet as I understood my rheumatologists. Doctors never explain very well what they think.
      I have a question. Is there anybody who would not have any stiffness or visibly swollen joints and stil have ra? Two ra doctors think that I have ra because I have some kind of not strong pain bilaterally in many joints like wrists, ankles, some fingers. It is not real pain but some deep down feelings of hurting. I do not know how really to discribe it. Those feelings of deep pain change all the time. One day it is fingers, one day ankles then wrists or little bit knees, hips too occasionally. Feets too used to hurt but now better. Wrists lately started more persistent every day or at night too. No stiffness or pain in the morning. What I had was hurting my feet when I get up but just for one or two minutes. I also have muscles pain along my legs at the back.
      Doctors prescribed me plaquenil and think that it is just very beginning of ra. I take it but I am not sure it really helps. If I did not take it maybe I would feel worse. I do not know but my symptoms do not go away.
      Of course I have my blood work all perfect for everything possible. Please if anyone has something similar tell me. All is gradually getting worse but I do not all the typical signs of ra.

    31. Tony Kitchell says:

      My first symptom extreme pain in rt wrist then left it felt like I wanted to cut them off. Then rt ankle then left. After that it was knees, elbows, hips and shoulders.

    32. Tony Kitchell says:

      I forgot say I was diagnosed in May 2015

    33. Diana says:

      Hello, I saw the last post in 2015 it’s 2017 I hope some one is there, I am 51 y/o most of my life very active, bicycle, dance, gym, walking, all over the sudden a year ago I was diagnosed with sciatica, I tried chiro, ortho, therapies and it get worse, at the same time the left shoulder, then the right hip and the right shoulder, now when I sleep my hands swollen I feel my feet numb all my body hurts, my joins and my dr sent me to see a Rheumatologist he says nothing is wrong, ANA, Lupus and all those test come back negative, he told me I am developing arthritics, I am going to see a neurologist in 3 more weeks,because my insurance dont let me see one sooner, I am getting very depress…. :-(

    34. Melissa says:

      I’ve got other health issues asthma, ibs and had back surgery for herniated disc. So it’s hard to say what was specifically from RA. It took 6 years for me to get a diagnosis after seeing several Doctors, a Neurologist and finally the Rheumatologist. My first issues were weakness,stiffness and just feel drained and occasional tremors. I had back pain off and on since the surgery. Now I have constant pain. I may have pain, swelling, tingling and stiffness in wrist, hands, ankles, knees and/or feet. I’ve had pain in my ribcage that made me think I was having heart issues but I have a healthy heart, I read that can be common. Everyday is different I’m glad for good days when I can actually walk around a bit and get something done.

    35. Jennifer C says:

      I have not “officially” been diagnosed with RA. My bloodwork keeps coming back normal. I have been diagnosed with OA, fibromyalgia, cervical and lumbar stenosis with myelopathy. I have an appt this month with a Rheumatologist (which I had to make on my own without my doctors help). I have a 15 yr old son who was diagnosed with Juvenile RA a year ago. I have pain in every joint and sound like a box of rice crispies when I move. I am so tired of being sick and tired. I am hoping the Rheumatologist will be able to help and provide some answers. I have always been a very active person and always dealt with the aches and pains since I was in junior high. It has been a rough year. I was also diagnosed with Lyme Disease this year. I am just ready for help and answers.

    36. Barbara Miller says:

      My pain started in my neck about 10 years ago, and slowly worked its way through every joint in my body, the bottoms of my feet even hurt. I explain this at every doctor visit, and they just sit there and type on their computer and say it could be the weather. I am getting so depressed from having to lay on the couch all day on the weekends, and not being able to do my housework . I have been diagnosed with OA, but I feel that it’s much more than that, I just feel ill all the time . I am still able to work full-time but not very well and I don’t know how long that’s going to last , I can barely type anymore my finger is so swollen and all they do is give me cream for it, any help would be greatly appreciated .

    37. Tony says:

      My first symptom was wrists then ankles then fingers,feet, knees, hips, elbows, and now neck.

    38. Joanna says:

      Is this site maintained anymore? All the posts I see are from several years ago. I’ve been so sick all summer and was just diagnosed with RA, but I’m having trouble believing the diagnosis and am too scared to start the meds. I really wish I had someone to talk to who has been there. ? This illness is ruining my life and I don’t know what to believe.

      • Dear Joanna,
        Here is another page that might help you:
        For more to talk to who live with RD, I’d also go to my facebook group here: warrior

        On most websites if you click on the logo, you will go to the “front” page or the home page. That usually shows the most recent posts. Here, those are a couple months old. But there are many more recent replies to comments. And if you click on the links to my book, you’ll see why I’ve been too busy to write new blog posts the past couple of months (while I fight my own RD). :)

    39. Jessica Pulido says:

      I haven’t been diagnosed with R.A. yet. But my kidneys are failing and my renal doc said it was due to NSAIDS. I didn’t believe that and started to doi research. I. My research it pointed to an auto immune disease. I went to a new doctor and told her I needed a full blood pa so done to see if I had lupus or something. She thought I was crazy! How could a simpleton know anything about the medical world being I’m uneducated . Well I got myg results last week and guess what! I was right my R.A factor was way above normal. My hands doint hurt. But my wrists will swell. My feet hurt and my legs are in so much pain. I get bad muscle cramps in my legs to the point my half A are solid as a rock. I am also getting them around my rib cage and they will take me to the ground in tears. I am currently awaiting on my referral to go through to see the r.a. specialist.

      • Dear Jessica, my new book addresses this. The disease does not start in the hands and they are not always the first symptom. I am working to change that misconception so people can be diagnosed earlier. I hope you don’t have it, but either way – I hope the doc is helpful. Good luck.

    40. Tracey says:

      Wow just read your article I am amazed at how accurate it is I remember the rheumatologists and doctors checking my fingers and thinking why are they checking my hands like this lol
      It affected my back feet chest shoulders ankles hips my hands started to swell a long time after this but the methotrexate helps with the swelling in the fingers wish it helped more for my hips and shoulders though

    41. Libby Merrell says:

      Looking for answers/guidance.
      I’m 39 and I’ve noticed over the past year how fatigued I easily become and how I ache and have pain and feel bad a lot. In August I decided to make my four year old twins nap mats for preschool last minute. So I stayed up the night before and sat on the floor pinning and sewing etc. About 4 hours in I had to stop. Every part of my body hurt and I could barely get up off the floor. I thought this is not normal for 39! I made an appt with my general practitioner. My right hip had been bothering me and hanging after a car ride longer than 30 minutes as well in addition to feeling stiff after sitting that long. She ran basic labs and labs for ra. Everything was within normal limits except my ccp which came back at 39 which is at the high end of weak positive. She sent me for a hip MRI and told me to set up an appt with a rheumatologist.
      The hip MRI showed that I have hip impingement with labral tear, and I was sent to an orthopedic surgeon. My hip pain is not significant and it doesn’t interfere greatly with my life so he said until it does keep keeping on.
      The rheumatologist looked at my hands and asked me what prompted my visit to the doctor and told me I did not have ra. Told me I might be at greater risk of developing it later and if I had issues with hands or feet not to ignore them to come back in but otherwise he didn’t want to see me again.
      Fast forward to last week, three months from the sewing event. I changed the girls beds out from toddler to big beds, cleaned their rooms out, moved some light furniture. I’m always more easily fatigued than I think I should be but I pushed through wanting to get he project done. Was out late Friday night at Walmart getting Christmas lights and just began to feel terrible achy etc. decorated sat and sun but was absolutely not feeling well at all! Achy all over. Muscle fatigue and shaking. Everything hurting. When I woke that morning my daughter needed a breathing treatment and I could barely unscrew the cap to put in the medicine. Had a hard time pouring coffee creamer. I have felt some better the last two days but energy level has not returned. I took ibuprofen this morning and then had to drive for two hours and both hips and shoulders hurt when I got out of the car and I swear I look like I’m 90 tryingto move.
      My hands don’t hurt though and I’m not stiff every morning. It just seems like when I push my body to its limits, which are way less than I feel they should be, that my body just cannot handle it and I have this huge reaction or something.
      I’m thinking I should have the ccp repeated. But there was no inflammation last time and my rf was negative as well.
      Any thoughts or advice appreciated!

    42. Lisa says:

      I am 63 and was just diagnosed with RA. I need your help because I’m hesitant to start MTX. My rheumatologist is great and she thinks I have it. I am seronegative and hand/wrist ultrasound showed lots of inflammation but not necessarily RA. I have pseudogout and that showed.
      The systemic symptoms are fatigue, 5 matching joint pairs with pain, all DIP joints off joint and this hit all at once in January. They have periods of intense fire and ADLs are reduced. I had 5 fused.
      I have swelling, redness, pain, loose ligaments, hoarseness, keratitis sicca. But I am stiff but not more than half hour.
      I have fibromyalgia and other autoimmune diseases.
      So the prednisone helped some but is all this enough to start MTX and folic acid. As you have said it’s scary to take the plunge. Thanks for your help.

    43. samantha says:

      My feet at 27. The bone on the inside looked like it was forcing it’s way out. Then at 30 blood work confirmed rate factors. 34 I thought I his the worst case of pink eye evere. It lasted over a month and finally was told it’s a certain time obtained with individuals whom have ra. Now at 37 my hands swell so bad in the am that I can’t use them properly. As day goes on some swelling goes away.they are also bright red all day. I work in a warehouse 11hrs a day 6 days a week were I use my hands building pallets all day. I’m terrified at how much worse is become and at the fact that at my current rate I won’t be able to do what I love full time soon

    44. ashley says:

      I was diagnosed today after blood work. I was sent to rheumatologist after getting a rash twice in as many months. I thought my joint pain in hands and wrists was from working on a computer and joint pain in jaw from grinding my teeth. pain in ankles from being overweight. none of these have been anything like the pain everyone here is describing tho. it’s the “other” symptoms I’ve experienced more. like the rash, dry eye, oral yeast, fatigue. anyone else start this way or have these?

      • hi Ashley – it’s normal for the pain level to be much lower early on – and I’m glad you aren’t in terrible pain. RA/RD is actually a systemic disease that does not start in the joints. Hopefully, you have caught it early and will do well. I’m glad your doctor is listening to your symptoms.
        Recently I just published the first book on the systemic aspects of the disease – including the ones you have noticed so far.

    45. Teresa Powell says:

      I am 47, about 4 months ago I started having severe pain in one hand then the other hand, and then in my foot then the other foot my neck, then my jaw I couldn’t open my mouth but so far, it was painful to chew. As of now I don’t have insurance but in the process of trying to get help. My job closed down about 1 year 1/2 ago after 12 years. I worked as an office manager. I had a spine surgery 6 years ago and still in severe pain from my back as well. At this moment I do good just making it to and from the bathroom, and thats a struggle. With no health insurance I’m having to suffer with this pain until I can get some insurance. I haven’t been actually diagnosed with RA but my family doctor say she sure that’s what is but it’s to expensive to have the test done. I will never take for granted the little things I can do like getting a bath, washing my face, brushing my teeth, just even be able to scratch my own itch, cant take my own clothes off sometimes, pulling the cover over me at night, can’t open anything. I hate going to bed cause through the night I’m really in pain and when I first wake up in the morning. Sometimes I feel if they cut off my hands and feet (not literally) I would feel better. Does anyone take any meds that help ease the pain.

    46. Karen Lerma says:

      My feet felt it first. I was a young nurse working in a hospital. I blamed the pain on the job. The muscles spasmed to tight hard knots. Felt like I was walking on hot rocks. Then feet started swelling I had to buy wider and larger shoes. My children teased me about having “dough feet.” My feet are now a wide D width. I have to special order shoes to fit and support my now flattened, bunioned, noduled, feet. Took years before I got proper diagnosis and treatment. My Rheumatologist treated me for fibromyalgia for years since my Rheumatoid factor was negative. I had B width feet and hands my friends said I could use to model with long slim straight fingers. No more. My hands didn’t begin to swell for a few years. I have erosions to bones in wrists and hands now.

    47. Katie says:

      Mine started in my shoulders. Couldn’t lift my arms for three days. It then moved to my feet and finally to my hands. September of 2017 I was diagnosed with RA and Lupus you know because RA wasn’t enough…. luckily the out breaks only last a few days and happen every couple of months so far.

    48. Marlene says:

      I had a heel spur on my left foot. The podiatrist gave me a cortisone shot in my heel. It went away. Then months later both feet on top were painful to walk. I just recently had cortisone shots on top of both feet.

    49. Richard Gregory says:

      Hi,my first RA attack was pretty vicious on my right hand.Pain was nearly unbearable.Quite by chance I found that if I dropped my arm by my side,the RA dissipated and resolved to a mild tingling at extremities of digits.Seems to work every time for me.Only last night,following a bad attack on my right hand,which forced 1st and second fingers apart,when I dropped my arm the pain dissipated and it was fascinating to see the two fingers come together of their own accord.
      Has anyone else experienced this,and does anyone know what factors are at work here? I can only imagine it must be something to do with blood circulation,but I know little about this subject.
      My rheumatologist doesn’t seem inclined to look for a reason,but I’m the type of guy who thinks there’s a reason for everything and it’s just a case of finding it.I’m approaching 67 years of age,and Rituximab blew my RA out of the water.Unfortunately they don’t seem inclined to repeat the infusions (I suspect money is an issue as I’ve no medical insurance,only an Irish medical card).

    50. Amy says:

      I’m very new to this journey. Tested a strong positive for anti-CCP and saw my first rheumatologist a week ago. I am planning to get a second opinion, but the first doc (whom I really liked), suspects I have early RA. (Though she was hesitant to pigeon hole me so early, which I appreciate). For me I’ve not had many hand or feet symptoms yet and my xrays in those areas were clear too. My joint paint has been mostly my back, my hips and my knees – recently my elbows and shoulders have gotten involved. I’ve also had abdominal pain and muscular pain as well as muscle spasms and IBS-D. I am seeking a second opinion in part because I don’t have the “classic” signs and symptoms of RA (apart from the anti-CCP), but it is good to hear that maybe I’m not so weird if it turns out I do have RA.

      • Amy, as you can see in the 1k comments here on this article—or in my book with ~600 references—”classic” is just a myth. Best of luck to you.

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