What Is the First Symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis? | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

What Is the First Symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Officially Sanctioned RA: The First Symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis (UPDATED 2016)

First Symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Do people with Rheumatoid Disease (PRD) have the symptoms they’re expected to?

From what I’ve read in books and online, the first symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis is supposed to be in the hands.  So that it can be diagnosed. Because most diagnosis RA by the hands. (A bit of a circular argument, but that’s how it is). I’ve mentioned to you before that hands are considered central to diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Check these out:
Is There a Typical Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Why Is Diagnosing RA So Difficult
How is Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosed part 1
How is Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosed? Part 2

Many researchers and doctors consider RA to be primarily a disease of the hands and wrists. Other small joints can be affected, they say, but hands are first. According to PRD, many doctors examine hands to diagnose as well as to judge disease activity.

Is that an accurate description of the first symptom of rheumatoid arthritis?

No.

How do I know? I know because I’ve gained a broader perspective by reading many thorough articles on diagnosing RA like this one. Also, I’ve spent even more time reading the accounts of actual people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Many PRD do not experience symptoms in the hands early in the progression of their disease. In some cases, those PRD are not following the pattern which is set forth by those who officially authorize and certify a “definition” of Rheumatoid Arthritis. This is can make diagnosis difficult.

Here is a first symptom of rheumatoid arthritis list that I compiled after talking with real people being treated for RA:

first symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis: feetEye inflammation / uveitis / iritis
Feet pain and / or swelling
Back pain (spine)
Pleurisy (lungs)
Heart (heart disease or inflammation of lining)
Ankles (pain and damage)
Elbow
Hip
Shoulder
Knee
Intestinal inflammation

The unlikely first symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis: Feet

I am one of those lucky peeps whose Rheumatoid Arthritis struck my feet before my hands. The pain began at age 15. The occasional pain or swelling got worse over the years.

Early in 2006, there was intense swelling and pain which caused deformity literally overnight. One morning, I awoke with a toe that had moved about 45 degrees. I could not walk on it. Within 24 hours, the other foot did the same thing. At least they matched.

Within a few days, RA attacked several joints on both feet so that I could not wear shoes. It felt as if I were standing on rocks all of the time. It took a few doctors to realize that this was actually RA. In fact, I was not diagnosed until it had spread to several other joints. Incidentally, that did not include the hands at that point.

Since I did not realize the seriousness of my fate, I never took pictures of those unbelievably deformed feet. Fortunately for me, the swelling went down and I can walk short distances now with only moderate pain. However, I have a completely different pair of feet. RA feet.

Updating this now in 2016, I’ve had many injections over the years in my feet to bring down the extreme inflammation. I still see the same podiatrist who splinted my feet 10 years ago to help the joints come back in line. He helped diagnose my RA. The lumps beneath the base of the toes are always there, but ice packs help somewhat.

IF YOU ARE a PATIENT –

Please add your comment below to tell us about your first symptom of rheumatoid arthritis. Or you can answer for someone you know who has RA.

IF YOU ARE a DOCTOR or NURSE –

Please read through the hundreds of comments by patients to see the wide variety of first symptoms.

Recommended reading:

Kelly O'Neill Young

Kelly O'Neill (formerly Kelly Young) has worked over 10 years as an advocate helping patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the author of the best-selling book Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked: 10 Dangers of Rheumatoid Disease. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Through her writing and speaking, she builds a more accurate awareness of rheumatoid disease (RD) aka rheumatoid arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creates ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and brings recognition and visibility to the RA patient journey. In addition to RA Warrior, she writes periodically for newsletters, magazines, and websites. There are over 60,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook page. You can also connect with Kelly by on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is a mother of five, longtime home-schooler, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. She has lived over thirteen years with unrelenting RD. See also https:/rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

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919 thoughts on “What Is the First Symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

  • May 3, 2014 at 5:56 am
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    hi,thanks for your useful website.I have been diagnosed with RA from 13 years ago after my son was born.I m 39 now. Recently my symptoms are terrible I have pain in my hands and feet all day& swelling.I m worrried about deformity of my hands and fingers because I pay attention too much to be well-dressed and good-looking.I take metotroxate 3 in a week and last week my rhumatologist doubled my prednisolone to 2 and sulfasalazine to 4 everyday.can sulfasalazine make someone’s pain worse?I live in iran and I taught in an English institute but it is about 3 weeks Igot off days from work to rest more.what can be the reason of flares-up in this severe way?I feel depressed.

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  • May 7, 2014 at 1:33 pm
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    My first symptom of RA was in my right hand at age 54. (I am now 57) It was diagnosed as gout for three years with only an occasional flare (1-2x/yr). I also had isolated flares in my right shoulder that were diagnosed as bursitis. When I experienced a series of flares in my both hands, both shoulders, and one elbow over two weeks (6 mos ago) the diagnosis of RA was made.

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  • May 9, 2014 at 12:00 am
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    My first symptoms were pericarditis along with left shoulder pain. My GP and I assumed the shoulder pain was related to the pericarditis. That was just a few months ago; January 2014. The chest pain subsided with the prescribed NSAID, but the shoulder pain did not. In February my left index finger swelled up like a little sausage and was extremely painful. As a guitarist, I’ve had previous problems with my left hand, but I was completely unable to play with this finger and shoulder problem. So I went to see the Ortho Surgeon who had done my carpal tunnel release a few years back. This is a really smart guy who takes the time to listen and ask questions. He put the pericarditis, shoulder pain and swollen finger together and decided to draw blood for an RF. It was positive. And life is very different now.

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  • May 13, 2014 at 12:00 am
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    I encourage anyone to keep seeking a new doctor if you are told a diagnosis you know is incorrect. I was age 35 when my RA symptoms began. The rheumatologist I went to,knowing I am a nurse, insisted it was OA. Not hardly. I had bi-lateral hip replacements within the year. Sad to say my case is so severe but wish you all better luck with your rheumatologist. I was totally neglected, we all know our body best. OA is not excruciating pain overnight. Beware of Dr.Kristine Rea in Indiana

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  • May 20, 2014 at 11:35 pm
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    Hi
    I am sorry to hear you all are in so much chronic pain.

    According to test I had 18 months ago I don’t have RA. Nevertheless I have experienced most of the above symptoms from your list so I am interested in the early onset of RA.

    The difference is I have had a long period of being symptom free in between the initial onset of symptoms and their current return.

    Initially the symptoms came on me suddenly, they were severe and lasted about six months, and then I recovered almost overnight. Now two years later some of the symptoms are returning but they are not as severe as last time – so far anyway.

    My questions about the onset of RA are:
    Do the symptoms you list above e.g. eye inflammation, feet swelling/pain etc come and go for lengthy periods or have they never really left you?

    Has anyone who has confirmed RA ever woken up with swollen patches on their lips or face – like they’ve been bitten by an insect?

    Has anyone with confirmed RA seen their symptoms get a lot worse after being bitten by mozzies, spiders etc?

    I’m asking these questions because when I googled one of my current symptoms – swollen patches on lips which come up overnight – I happened upon a different site at first – and on that website hundreds of people are wondering what disorder they have – their symptoms include morning swelling on the lips (like they’ve been bitten by an insect overnight), swollen eyes (especially after sleeping). They also notice that during the day they get the following symptoms, swollen soles of the feet (sometimes itchy with rashes), swollen fingers – often starting out as itchy in one spot and then rapidly swelling up, achy joints (but not necessarily burning like RA) and general exhaustion. These people have all tried various allergy diets and are at their wits end trying to work out what is wrong with them.

    I’m particularly curious about the swollen patches on the lips as a possible early onset warning/symptom of RA. I am also curious that about the “itchy patches that when scratched cause swelling then turn into achy joints” symptom. The presence of absence of these symptoms might be useful in helping other people work out if they are in the early stages of RA.

    When I first got these symptoms coupled with the above listed symptoms two years ago I thought it was Ross River virus – I live in Western Australia in an area which is plagued with mosquitoes. Doctors in our region don’t like diagnosing people with Ross River virus – (because the Health Dept likes keeping the confirmed number of cases of the mossie-borne disease low).

    I wasn’t alone in battling my symptoms – in my immediate area five people aged between 12 – 65 years I knew personally all came down with similar symptoms within three weeks of each other and we were all in pain for months – yet our GPs all gave us ambiguous diagnoses – like “growing pains”, “old age” and “repetitive strain injury” – not one of the doctors mentioned testing for RA and they all avoided testing us for Ross River virus for months as well.

    After struggling with everyday tasks for six months, one day I woke up feeling great (and really thankful). Within a month I was almost back to “normal” – although the new normal for me was “aged” – prior to this I’d always been energetic and felt like I was 35 (even though I was 50). Now I felt like I was 50+ and have always noticed my age since the first episode.

    Now two years later – after being symptom free for 18 months the symptoms have started to come back – although so far they are not as severe as last time and definitely not as debilitating as the symptoms you all get as RA endurers.

    Coincidentally I was bitten badly again by mozzies a few weeks ago before the latest bout of symptoms returned.

    Two years ago when I first experienced the symptoms, I initially battled a high fever like the flu for about four days. During the “bad flu” I had achy joints, but after the fever broke the achy joints remained. The list of lingering symptoms grew as time went on to include
    aching wrists and forearms,
    tingling fingers & toes;
    painful stiff fingers,
    neck stiffness,
    back pain
    losing my voice for nearly three months
    not being able to lift heavy things for very long,
    getting puffed out doing simple physical tasks I could normally do e.g. climbing stairs;
    fumbling over tasks which required my fingers to be dexterous e.g. trying to lock a padlock.

    The only disorder I’ve ever been diagnosed with is low iron levels (my GP claims that the blood tests for RA and Ross River virus returned negative).

    I am not saying my GP was wrong and I have RA (or Ross River for that matter) – I am just astonished at how similar whatever I have is to the list of symptoms you have identified as the onset of RA.

    The mozzies returned in force about a month ago – and I was bitten in spite of my best efforts to avoid them.
    Since then I’ve had sporadic re-occurrences of “early morning” patches of swelling around the lips, eyes and fingers.

    Now a month later the stiff and swollen fingers have returned – I’ve had to remove my wedding ring today. The swelling around my eyes, feet swelling, wrist pain, joint stiffness, achy back etc have all returned. In the past fortnight I’ve had indigestion (which I rarely get). I’ve also had bouts of chest pain (which I don’t normally get), and throat tightness, coughing, and general allergy symptoms (which I sometimes get but not this badly). So far the symptoms are all annoying but bearable. I’m hoping and praying they won’t get as bad as last time.

    If anyone with confirmed RA can recall any of the following seemingly unrelated symptoms or incidents it might be helpful to people who are fighting with their GPs to get them to investigate if they have RA .

    Sudden unexplained swollen patches on the lips, under the eyes, or in other areas around the face,(like internal hives)
    Sudden unexplained outbreaks of itchy red patches on fingers, ankles or soles of feet which precede swelling in those places (like external hives but not due to insect bites)
    Other external triggers – like mozzie bites or spider bites a few weeks before a bad episode of your RA symptoms.

    I appreciate there is no cure for RA, but perhaps your combined knowledge might help the medical profession recognize early onset symptoms and diagnose people for RA earlier. Also maybe if RA is treated in its early stages it might have less severe long term effects (a bit like Lymes.)

    Regards
    Beau

    Reply
    • December 28, 2014 at 9:18 pm
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      Hello Beau
      Have you thought of getting tested for CHIKUNGUNYA or DENGUE FEVER (there’s different kinds of Dengue). In the Caribbean, where we have plenty of mosquitoes, there’s been an outbreak of both of these diseases, dengue is always present but Chikungunya has hit hard this past year. I swear I hear everyone who has it complaining and you would think they all had RA! Just a thought.
      Best of luck,
      Janet

      Reply
    • January 13, 2015 at 1:46 am
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      Im not sure what I have ,I am 59 years old ,all of a sudden I started getting the worst pain ever in my hands ,my shoulder my neck and my hip,so I started taking 800 mg of ibuproven,and it is much much better ,I feel that I dont want to,have to keep taking this for the rest of my life , but it does make me feel better, I thought that I went thru menopause already and I thought it was fairly easy but now Im wondering if this may be my problem ,I hate the thought of evan telling my doctor because of all of the things that it could be ,I just dont like guessing what the problem could but I guess Sooner or later Im gonna have to break down and fess up to her about it.Im one of those people that likes quick fixes.

      Reply
  • May 21, 2014 at 11:08 pm
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    My first symptom was iritis/ uveitis in one of my eyes three and a half years ago. Around three months after that I developed a high fever which lasted five days. The high fevers continued to reoccur every three months for the next year, each lasting five days and with no other symptoms except for very bad night sweats. During this period I was referred to an internal medicine specialist but they could not figure out what was going on. My white blood cell counts were also found to be quite low so I had a bone marrow biopsy, but again everything was normal. Around 18 months after the initial iritis I had what you could describe as my first classic RA symptom, which was stiffness in both of my shoulders. The stiffness worsened to the point where I could not lift one of my arms above my shoulder and I was diagnosed with a ‘frozen shoulder’. Sleeping during this period was quite difficult due to the pain in my shoulder. This continued for several months but with physio the pain and stiffness eventually lessened to the point where my range of movement was almost back to normal. Around six months later I started getting stiffness and mild swelling in my knees to the point where I had a lot of difficulty getting up from a sitting position. This subsequently spread to my hands, making it difficult to bend some of my fingers. Around a year ago I was finally referred to a rheumatologist who immediately diagnosed me with RA and started me on a course of methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine. I found the initial dose (25mg a week) of MTX completely knocked me out for 2-3 days and, after several weeks of this I decided to try a lower dose. I am currently taking 10mg a week and I am fortunate at the moment to have few if any symptoms apart from the occasional fever and slight stiffness in my knees and hands.

    I have just turned 51 and, while I have looked at a few forums and blogs about RA, this is the first time I have posted anything about my own condition. Based on my own experiences I have the impression that this disease is not well understood, and I was surprised at how long it took the medical system here in Canada to figure out what I had, especially as I already suspected I had RA just based on what I had read online.

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  • May 27, 2014 at 10:43 pm
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    Can anyone tell me what nodules feel like when they are forming? I have a small spot on my finger
    that looks like one might be forming but I’m not sure.It started last night, a burning kind of stabbing pain and now it looks a little like a raised bump…I’ve looked on medical sites and there are no answers except ‘ nodules don’t cause pain’ …I’m already tired of hearing that when we all know there is incredible pain with this disease!
    Ii was on Cedars – Sinai site last night & sent them an email about the misinformation they have posted! It just makes me so mad -all the wrong info thats out there, and as so many have said, we need Dr’s with RA to spread the word…not that I’d wish this disease on anyone BUT…! If it would help!

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  • May 30, 2014 at 7:07 am
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    I am in the UK and stumbled across this site when looking up one of the many symptoms I have but which the doctors cannot see. I had my first symptom when I was 17 years old and it was utter exhaustion. I am now 43 and am still undiagnosed. In the last two years I have seen so many doctors that it is getting ridiculous. They are all unanimous in the fact that ‘there is nothing wrong’.
    I am on my fifth rheumatologist and all they look for is bone damage (hands and feet). My Aunt was diagnosed with RA and I have the same symptoms as she does but I did not get visible (to everybody but the Drs who can’t see it) bone swelling until a year ago. I have lymphedema, hidradenitis suppartiva, livedoreticularis, raynauld’s, lumps everywhere, synovitis (undiagnosed but the fluid is visible to everybody except the Drs who can’t see it)…
    Anyway, the site is great and I just wanted to share my experience too as I cannot believe that everybody is having the same problems and there does not seem to be any inclination in the medical profession to learn about autoimmune disease at all. Interestingly my Aunt was diagnosed in 1945 by her GP; her throat was constantly sore.
    Keep up the good work and thank you for a brilliant reference source.

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  • June 25, 2014 at 4:25 pm
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    36 years old and Wondering if I have RA..my grandmom did, my dad does, my cousin has it….yet my blood test have been normal for years. Ive had pain, stiffness, and creaking in most of my joints but always remained active. About a year ago I started getting excruciating pain in my lower back. Nothing I did helped. Finally the doctor did an mri and found severe inflamation, bone spurs and deterioration. I am getting cortisone injections for that, but now other joints hurt. The worst was when I moved into a new townhouse, and I realized I was getting winded just carrying boxes, and going up stairs. I really felt exhausted, constantly. My hands are swollen to the point that my rings dont fit, but at first glance look fine. I know they’re not right. When I went to my pcp, I felt like he thought I was ‘pain med seeking’ which is not the case at all. I just want to feel like myself again. He said how he doesnt know whats wrong with me because as of last year my bloodwork was normal. This cant be all in my head! Now Im waiting for the results of the new labs to come in. I hope they show something or else I may just go crazy. My boyfriend doesnt understand, and I think he thinks Im a whiner. This is so frusterating but I am glad I found this site!

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  • July 2, 2014 at 6:23 pm
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    I’ve been diagnosed a week from what im told ive to start taking steroids which has me terrified like you ive had constant feet swelling
    a and ankles my stomach has been very bad over last four years when they first did colonoscopy they said crohns now inflammatory arthritis ive also suffered alot with kidney infections its only now my hands are hurting and fingers swelling my neck and shoulder kept going every six months to a year pain was so bad i couldnt move i dont think they have this right at all

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  • July 3, 2014 at 3:38 pm
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    I was diagnosed about 1999, at age 49. It started with the fatigue and aching joints, mainly wrists, fingers and ankles. Was started on methotrexate and was then added plaquinel and then prednisone, then shots and infusions. Different rheumys, but my latest took me off the plaquinel and prednisone, told me that my hip and knee pain was probably secondary fibromyalgia, put me on gabapentin, then added tramadol over past couple years along with methotrexate and riituxin every 6 months. Took myself off the gabapentin and tramadol a few months ago because I was getting extreme dry mouth and dry eyes which I felt these drugs were causing. At first, I didn’t seem to miss these drugs and I should say that normally my body gets used to drugs after a while and they just aren’t very effective anymore. I also have COPD which means I can’t really do much of anything because I get wheezy and out of breath easily. One of my biggest issues is the fatigue! Frequently feel like I need a nap hours after getting up. Past few months I’ve been having a huge issue with my ankles and feet throbbing unbearably, but hardly any swelling, nothing seems to help. Does anyone else have this problem? Could the weather, 80s and 90s and humid, be a factor? My infusion is scheduled next week but wondering if anyone has any suggestions? I know this is long but feeling extremely frustrated and depressed because I don’t know what to do because I can’t do much of anything and don’t feel like anyone understands.

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  • July 26, 2014 at 10:19 am
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    I was just diagnosed with RA a couple of days ago. I’m still trying to wrap my head around this whole diagnosis. Right now the pain and stiffness is in my hands and sometimes my shoulders. The Doctor said I have old people’s hands – I am 53, not too old yet I don’t think :-). I start prednisone and methotrexate next week, I am nervous about this, so far in my life I have never been on much medication, so this is all new for me.

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  • August 13, 2014 at 8:43 am
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    My RA started in my eye. I kept having episodes where the outside 1/2 of my right eye, would be painful and blood-filled. After numerous trips to the eye Dr. and several rounds of steroids, he said I needed to see a Rheumatologist. My diagnosis was episcleritis. Since being diagnosed with RA, my symptoms have been erratic. My eye is definitely under better control, but my ankles and feet are now causing me the most problems and pain. I’ve recently started noticing where my right hand gets “stuck-in-position” for a few seconds, but I have no idea if this is RA releated. I currently take Arava which has helped some. I was on Methotrexate but my liver enzymes were elevated 4X above a safe level. With all this being said, with the exception of an elevated ESR level, I am serum negative for RA. It happens.

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  • August 16, 2014 at 12:34 pm
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    I HAD BEEN FIGHTING PAIN IN MY RIGHT SHOULDER THAT SUDDENLY REMAINED CONSTANT WITH MY LEFT SHOULDER HURTING, TOO. SOON AFTER, I CAUGHT A VIRUS THAT PRODUCED A COUGH AND PROGRESSED TYPICALLY BUT HAD LARYNGITIS THAT LASTED ALMOST A MONTH. AS SOON AS THE LARYNGITIS RESOLVED, OVERNIGHT I AWOKE WITH PAIN IN BOTH HIPS AND BEHIND BOTH KNEES. AFTER FIVE DAYS I BEGAN TO RUN A LOW-GRADE FEVER FOR FOUR DAYS. I JUST FINISHED ANOTHER THREE DAYS OF LOW-GRADE. EXTEME STIFFNESS AND PAIN UPON ARISING AND WHENEVER I SIT DOWN FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME. ALL OF THIS NEWLY DEVELOPED PAIN WITH FEVER HAS BEEN WITHIN THE LAST THREE WEEKS. BLOOD TEST REVEALED HIGH SED RATE AND C-REACTIVE PROTEIN. I’M LOOKING FOR A RHEUMATOLOGIST.I UNDERSTAND THAT SYMPTOMS NEED TO LAST LONGER THAN SIX WEEKS TO WARRANT DIAGNOSING. IS THIS TRUE?

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  • August 17, 2014 at 9:16 am
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    (Sorry, I’m long winded) For me it started in my right shoulder. They called it frozen shoulder and actually sent me for MRIs to determine if it was “out of joint”. At the time, I was making Christmas wreaths and thought I had just overdone it that day. The next week it was my feet — like I was standing on marbles. The pain was unbearable. By the time I got in to see the specialist 2 weeks later I was unable to walk without support, sleep was out of the question, and I felt like I could pass out from fatigue at any moment. My husband took me to the doc who, without any tests, said I had more than 20 joints involved and had severe RA. My RA factor came back at 364. That was 7 years ago. I went on one drug, can’t recall the name…Arava? or something, and it affected my liver so I had to go off. I was fine for 6 months just on vitamins, but over the next couple of years I lived on Excedrin and Naproxen with bad flare ups and long periods of extreme pain. (We worried about my liver and I avoided methotrexate due to my brother having had 2 heart attacks while on it.) After a while it was about 20 joints that just wouldn’t stop hurting. I buckled and am so glad I did. I am on methotrexate — 4 months today. So far, so good. Keeping my fingers crossed that my next blood test will show that I’m tolerating it without liver issues. The awful sour taste in my mouth and stomach far outweigh the awful continuous pain. Currently, my right hand is the only part of me that seems to hold the pain…and of course all of me when it rains…and when I haven’t had enough sleep. LOL! I am the world’s biggest complainer but when I complain now, I smile. I wish I could reverse time, but I can’t. I have RA, and a few others issues that came along for the ride: connective tissue disease as well as fibromyalgia, and some stupid eye disease that will eventually need cornea transplants. BUT though I was forced to quit my job some years ago, I have been very blessed. I AM able to watch our daughters’ two grandbabies (2 and 15 months) every day. And as long as these two little boys don’t mind the creaking of my bones and the fact that I’m slow as molasses, or that I take naps when they do, I will get up an hour early so I can walk “okay” by the time they get here and spend every waking moment with them. And friends THAT IS PRICELESS! My house is a wreck and more times than not my husband comes home from work and makes dinner (usually for himself, because I’m already asleep on the sofa) and then does the dishes, too, but right now we are counting our lucky stars that I can move at all and we get to see these precious babies every day. One day at a time, folks, one day at a time. 🙂

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  • September 23, 2014 at 4:41 pm
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    I’m 10 years into my diagnosis, and to this day, my RA does not, nor ever has affected my hands. My feet and ankles were first, then came the shoulders and the jaw. But still no hands. and I am greatful because I am one bad knitter! 🙂

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  • October 5, 2014 at 9:24 am
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    This is my first comment so ill try to be clear.My first symtom was the right shoulder.Since I was a painter I assumed it was from long hours rolling walls and scraping.Needless to say there came a day when this most horrible burnig pain was joined by hip pain.The hip pain was causing additional stabs of pain down my leg in addition to numbness.After ct scans all they could find was anklosing spondilitis.After many visits to my P.C. and E.R. (As well as both hands and wrist very painful and numb )with no Dr. Knowing what it was,(and thinking I was a drug addict shopping for a ‘fix’ )an intern asked me if I had dry eyes and dry mouth.BINGO! With just those 2questions and after few years I was finally sent to a Rheumatoligist.Guess what?.He said it probably wasnt RA but carpal tunnel.Well when the labs came back I was sent to a Rheumatoligist that will ONLY draw blood and tracks my joint deformity.Every 3months he tries different drug combos and wont manage my pain.Since I was exposed to T.B. and hep a&b Im not a canidate for the new ‘wonder drugs’
    I have many RA tumors in my finger tips which make it extremely difficult to feel tactile and it was discovered that I had one in my neck lymph gland.all this has been in the last 3years since diagnosed.I dont need to say Im scared.Ive lost almost ALL funtion in my hands and now it has been working on my feet.Thank you for your wonderful blog.

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  • November 16, 2014 at 2:32 am
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    Hi, I’m George, a 26 year old male. Firstly I want to say this is an amazing website – I’ve learned so much from reading it. Thanks!

    Anyway, I have a family history of rheumatoid arthritis and am familiar with the disease, so when my knees and hands started hurting only mildly a few weeks ago, I immediately suspected RA went to my doctor.

    My symptoms so far are just pain in my fingers, wrists, and knees (both sides of body) that’s difficult to localize precisely, comes and goes randomly, and ranges from dull / achy to quite sharp randomly. I have no signs of inflammation and no stiffness in any of my joints, and no fever or any typical extra-articular RA symptoms.

    My doctor would not give me a referral to a rheumatologist, citing the fact that I have no stiffness, not even in the morning; he says my pain is just from exercising too much. That could be true considering I run long distances at least 4 times a week and lift weights, but random pains in multiple places that come and go? That seems very suspicious – not like overuse injuries. And due to my family history, I’m very worried that this pain could be the early onset of RA. Does anyone have any advice on how I should proceed?

    Am I just being hyper-vigilant about RA due to my family history, or should I keep pressing my doctor or even get a new doctor who might send me to a rheumatologist ASAP?

    Reply
    • November 22, 2014 at 3:10 pm
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      George, It’s not unusual for certain symptoms to be different or not apparent, especially in early disease.
      Have you had any blood tests? The anti-CCP can show antibodies early on, which could confirm it’s rheumatoid that’s getting started. There is also a new test called the 14-3-3eta test available in the US from Quest Diagnostics. NO test is absolute for RA diagnosis, but they can help…
      Finally, depending on where you live, it would be great if you can get access to musculoskeletal ultrasound to confirm inflammatory activity where you’re having the pains. It’s not widely available in the U.S. yet.
      more info for you:
      https://www.rawarrior.com/tag/blood-test-for-ra-rheumatoid-disease/
      https://www.rawarrior.com/tag/musculoskeletal-ultrasound-msus/
      Good luck.

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      • November 26, 2014 at 2:39 am
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        Thanks for the reply Kelly. I haven’t had blood tests yet, but I’ve booked another appointment with my GP to ask him to test me for RF and anti-CCP etc. And I’ll ask about ultrasound too. Just earlier this week, my toes on both feet started getting sharp pains too, so I’m more concerned than ever, yet still no signs of stiffness or swelling anywhere… Anyway, the blood test is definitely not asking much of the doc, even if he doesn’t think I have RA.

        If they should come back negative though, I know that doesn’t rule out RA, but if the GP wasn’t willing to refer me to a rheumatologist before, he certainly won’t after negative results. I’d feel a bit awkward about doing this, but I’m guessing doctor hopping for one that is willing to refer me would be the next step if my symptoms continue?

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  • December 28, 2014 at 9:05 pm
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    In hindsight, after reading these articles, I’m now beginning to realise that this disease that I have started when I was diagnosed with pleurisy, twice in one year, and soon after had a terrible situation with my right shoulder which I could hardly move because of the pain. Thereafter, I started getting swelling in joints, tendons, top of my feet, anywhere really. The area would swell A LOT, get red and hot, and hurt like crazy, could not move at all. My doctor diagnosed it (well I diagnosed it as Palindromic Rheumatism), my doctor preferred to call it fleeting arthritis. After two or so years of this it all started to change. Over the past year I have now acquired constant pain and redness and swelling, mostly in the hands, wrists and many times on the feet. I also have problems with my arms and shoulders. My knees are not a major problem yet. I do however notice that the bottom part of my body, as it warms up throughout the day, becomes less painful. The hand swelling goes down somewhat, but never 100%, yet it makes a difference in the amount of pain. I have no strength whatsoever in my legs or arms, and my hands are useless as the pain just inhibits me doing anything. My torso is probably the strongest part of my body at the moment and is pain free. For the past two or three weeks my sight has been blurred off and on and I have had swelling below the jawline, usually on the right side. I am presently taking prednisone off and on. It’s bliss when I take it as it mostly deals with the bigger pain, but I have come to realise that in the long run there are just too many side effects if it’s used too often. Methotrexate has not helped me, nor have a half dozen other medications. I juiced for 28 days straight, which helped in getting rid of acid reflux and occasional constipation, but it did not make much of a dent on the RA. My next step is to go on the Paleo diet, specifically designed for arthritis. I do have the feeling that sugar in any form is probably detrimental to persons suffering with RA. My grandmother, on my fathers side, ended up in a wheelchair due to Arthritis. I don’t believe she ever got any pain relief from whatever it was she was prescribed.

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  • December 30, 2014 at 5:12 pm
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    Got a frozen left shoulder Feb 2011 lasted for 6 mos. Frozen finger Feb 2014 but before then felt my hip was shifting out of socket when walking downstairs. Swollen right toe July 2014. Swollen right hand, both wrists sore. Dec 17 2014 sore right shoulder and trouble swallowing. 12/24 Diagnosis RA. :(. I don’t know what I would do without this site.

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  • December 31, 2014 at 2:57 pm
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    I ve always had pain in my hip for 5 years they recently found oaustio osteoma (prob spelt wrong) which was a benine growth in my bone, they be taken this away but I still limp and I’m in pain x I suffer badly with my hands and feet always ache and in pain, sometimes seize and lock and I feel if I move them there going to snap. My elbow is really sore can’t open it out sometimes, slso get pains and aches in my shoulders. I ve started getting an ache in my eye been to options today they said it will be linked with my other aches and pains. I also have been getting chest aches where I feel like I can’t breath in properly. My joints burn, I ve had a blood test which comes back hardly any arthritus showing, had steroid injection which helped in my elbow when it was injected straight in to elbow but steroid injections in leg don’t help. My arthrutis doc said of steroids aren’t working she doesn’t think I have it. So she sent me for a full body scan which I have my appointment for results next week, my mum has been diagnosed with worse type of Ms and she had a lot of my symptoms at my age, her brother also had Ms, anyone had anything simaliar ?? Hope it makes sense

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  • January 8, 2015 at 2:34 pm
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    Hi everyone, I just came across this blog…I am 22 years old and for the past 4/5 months I have been experiencing really bad pain in my hands, knees and feet. Unfortunately for me I did test positive for the Rheumatoid factor test whenI was 18 and both of my parents have RA, aren’t I a lucky gal? My last PCP made a joke and asked if my parents met at an RA support group…well, The pain just started to worsen in the past month and a half. I am waiting to get X-rays and be “diagnosed”. I have had stiffness in my hands for as long as I can remember, but doctors never paid any mind to it, I always felt it was because I sleep on my hands, but now I feel weak (more like a wind up toy). Mornings have been the worst, when I get up I feel very weak and I can hardly get up — I have to wait a few minutes, but I do get up because I have a small child. My pcp has prescribed naproxen but my pharmacists insists that it will have a bad interaction with my birth control so I have been hesitant with taking that medication. I feel a bit depressed at times, but I’m trying to stay positive, I am trying to balance my diet and drink herbal teas and will exercise more, but I feel scared that the pain will worsen. When I walk, it’s like I’m walking on rocks and I have a hard time walking barefoot or even with socks. Arthritis scares me; when I was 11 my mother was bed written for over 3 months because she could not move. I assisted her to the restroom and bathed her and all that, I do not wish that to happen to me or anyone else. Her legs and knees were swollen and red and I would massage her to ease the pain and seeing my mother suffer was so difficult. I would hardly sleep because we shared a bed and any movement caused her pain. I feel lost and am seeking answers, because I want to ease my pain. These symptoms are slowing me down and I want to be able to keep up with my son. I used to stay up with my mom at night and cry with her, I was helpless and couldn’t make her feel better. I don’t ever want my son to shed a tear over my health. I feel cheated and maybe I shouldn’t because I have been fortunate to have been blessed with better health than others for a long part of my life. Has anyone tried acupuncture or gone to the chiropractor to ease the pain? Do you experience any more pain due to birth control pills or have had any rheumatic problems due to birth control? I think I am starting to get paranoid and blaming my B.C for my sudden outburst of pain.

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    • December 6, 2015 at 7:23 am
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      I have not seen rheumatic problems due to birth control – but it’s not impossible. With the family history especially I hope you found a good dr to follow you.

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  • January 15, 2015 at 6:30 am
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    Reading this, my sore ankle and excessive tirednes might be be be linked b

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  • January 15, 2015 at 8:59 pm
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    On December 5th I thought I had injured my knee as I was in severe pain. After staying home from work, the pain seemed to ease, but within days I started having pain in my feet and ankles. Almost on a daily basis I have pain in one joint or another, knees, wrists, arms, hands, and feet, migrating from one joint to another from day to day. Always worse late in the day and at night. Prednisone completely relieved for a week. Then stopped and the pain returned. Tested negative for ra, but I’m not convinced. ARNP has taken me off statin meds for past three weeks. Less pain
    but still there to a lesser degree. Any recommendations?

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  • January 17, 2015 at 10:20 pm
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    im a 23 year old male and i have had all of these symptoms for the last two years. it started in my left foot and has now worked its way into my knees and left wrist. I’ve lost all grip strength in my hand. i take diclofenac but it only seems to mask the pain for small amounts of time. i really don’t know where to go from here. these are supposed to be my years of fun and living life and lately the only thing on my mind is the pain.

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  • January 19, 2015 at 8:48 pm
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    Happened upon this site checking for a weird thumb disjointing thing that I have been waking up with after being accidently glutened. Wow all these issues people are citing I had until my celiac diagnosis and going gluten free. I hope your doctors esp those with neg RA tests were tested for celiac.

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  • February 4, 2015 at 8:32 pm
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    I’m a teenager, and I don’t think I am supposed to get like this, but it started with my shoulders. They burned whenever I moved them or lay down on them. Then, my back and knees hurt and my arms, calves, and jaw came next. I don’t know what’s happening and it hurts so much, but I’m too scared to tell my parents what I am experiencing. They’ve always dismissed my pains and don’t offer to help me and I don’t think I’m going to be able to bear this pain. My back prevents me from stretching so far and my legs and knees pull as I walk or sit. This isn’t normal and I know it. If anyone could please help me out here, I would greatly appreciate it. :/

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    • December 6, 2015 at 7:14 am
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      Unfortunately anyone even small children can get rheumatoid disease. I really hope you told your mom – I’m sorry your parents have dismissed your pain in the past. I know that feels awful. Severe pain like that is not normal & a doctor needs to help you.
      I am sorry my reply is delayed because I was offline a long time.

      Reply
  • February 5, 2015 at 10:39 pm
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    Hey I’m 21 but I started having strange everyday pain in my fingers but it’s not just pain its like I can’t move them or close them all the way. When I was younger they always felt wrong so I would crush them…a lot. September of2014 I moved to Arizona and began working with race horses. Sense then, boom, puffy uncomfortable fingers that only work right at noon.

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  • February 8, 2015 at 3:51 am
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    I’m 39 and started to get symptoms last August 2014. All test are still negative but my rheumy is thinking Ra because my inflammation is at 49. And my symptoms are always burning pain and kind of itchy my left side hurts my left foot and my upper left leg burns I also get pain in my rib cage I feel like it mostly fybro but the dr says that fybro does not cause inflammation I think I have both

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  • February 19, 2015 at 4:10 pm
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    I first remember pain in my left shoulder about 3 years ago. The pain was intense, but because it also felt like my arm was pulling away from my shoulder, I thought I had damaged my rotator cuff. This happened off and on for the next 2 years, though, I never went to the doctor for it. 15 months ago, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer. A few months after chemo was complete I was experiencing pain in most of my joints, from my shoulders, knees, hips, and hands. It was sporadic and would hit different places. One day all those joints were hurting at the same time. The intensity of the pain brought me to tears. I finally talked to the Oncology nurse who said that some women experienced joint pain after chemo. My Onc wasn’t buying it and ordered 18 tests to include RA. The test for RA came back positive and the Onc made the appt for me himself. Days later, the Ruemitologist conducted more blood tests, bone scans, and x-rays and confirmed the initial diagnosis. But it all started with the one shoulder.

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    • October 31, 2015 at 11:59 pm
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      I always list taht as a symptom too Cyndi – that sense that the arm is coming off – pulling away – that’s how it started for me too.

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  • March 2, 2015 at 2:54 pm
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    I had pneumonia 3 times a year for 12 years in a misdiagnosis that sucked the life out of my work and personal life. Then the joints flared and finalky got a referral to a rheumatologist who thinks this is a full RA attack beginiing in lungs. I am now posting on any blog I can reminding people this is NOT a joint disease. it’s full out AI. My joints are no longer swelled but they hurt. Hoping to post a summary of research into this condition. I am still untreated as rheumatlogist and pulmonogists haven’t phoned eachother and family doc says I have get them to connect. Take lung issues seriously.

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  • March 16, 2015 at 9:25 am
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    Diagnosed 10 years now, my RA still does not affect my hands too badly. If I open a jar too quickly or don’t take care to wring out a dish cloth, I feel it, but nothing like some. My first pain came in my shoulders, the next day it was my feet, the next day it was my knees. Even now, my shoulders and feet are the worst. Newly affected in the last couple of months, my neck is starting to show damage. but still, my hands are fine.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 11:04 am
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    The fatigue is what made me believe something was wrong. I have severe osteo-arthritis in some joints and thought that was the source of severe joint pain. Finally, my hands felt as though they were being crushed. Dr finally ran ESR, CRP, and RF and the dx was made after years of suffering silently.

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    • October 30, 2015 at 10:53 pm
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      that’s a true description Bill. I often say it feels like someone is beating my hands with a hammer.

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  • April 10, 2015 at 12:55 pm
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    I am having some concerns about RA. For about the last 2 years I have not been able to find a pair of shoes that I can wear all day. My toes begin to burn terribly and sometimes I get horrible cramps in the arches of my feet. The last 2 weeks my back has begun to hurt. The pain is in the lower right side and left side and radiates around my hips. It is also on the outsides of my knees. I am 57, but I am in fairly good shape. About 5.7 and 128. The pain in my back was so bad last Thursday that I could not go to work. I could hardly walk. I felt like I was going to snap in half. I slept it off and took some Tramodol. It lasted a couple days and started to subside. Then again exactly one week later the pain was back and annoying me all day again. Shortly after my pain started we had 2 days of rain and damp weather. Does anyone know if RA patients have pain with changes in weather?

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    • October 30, 2015 at 10:52 pm
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      some say that they do & it is theorized that changes in barometric pressure could be felt inside of swollen tissue. I’ve never noticed improvement with better weather personally.

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  • April 17, 2015 at 10:14 am
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    Hey all, reading these symtoms and issues have made me believe this is what I have. I have had issues of foot pain and ankle pain while golfing and going up an embankments, a stair or to get down on my kness. This all started in the last two years. I thought it was my blood pressure medicine but now think it must be from RA of which my grandmother suffered. I have decreased leg muscle and struggle to skate, dance ride a bike and walk.

    It’s off to the Doc, I thought these were all issues from my Type II Diabetes and they may be BUT I think now it’s RA I have. The no energy and not being able to be active pisses me off to no end. Any thoughts? E me…cbrown@goldenwestradio.com
    GHB II

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  • April 19, 2015 at 3:10 pm
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    Hi, all. I’ve been lurking here, and can’t really find a good spot to put this post. I hope this is okay. After the first of the year, I started having trouble with my right (dominant) wrist. After going to my PCP and not getting a satisfactory answer, I did some internet research. Turns out it was DeQuervain’s Syndrome. That is a usually a repetitive stress injury, but can be caused by RA. I do use the keyboard and mouse a lot, so didn’t think too much about it. However, when I got it in my other hand, I thought it was strange. The knuckles on my right hand also got just a little puffy and red, then on my left hand, but not as much. I went back to my PCP and he suggested RA, but I was absolutely convinced he was wrong. He did do a rheumatoid factor blood test, which was negative. I know that may or may not mean anything. Then he sent me to a hand specialist who confirmed DeQuervain’s Syndrome and gave me cortisone shots in both wrists. Ow! He also ordered a whole arthritis panel of blood work, which I don’t know the results of yet. Since then, my hands are much better, but there is still mild swelling and inflammation at my right wrist, and slight pain in the back of my left hand, but not bad at all. Sometimes my hands feel just odd, as if they are too big for me, and they feel awkward and clumsy. Hope that makes sense. I have also had some weird things, like neck pain and headaches, unusual for me. One day (and only one) my right ankle hurt so bad I couldn’t walk on it. It lasted maybe five minutes, then went away. I have had a nagging, mild pain on the outside of my left my left foot for several weeks now. Have also had just some weird, non-specific aches and pains. So, does this sound like RA to any of you? I go back to the hand specialist this coming week. Should I insist on a rheumatologist referral?

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    • December 6, 2015 at 7:10 am
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      dear Bet, I know my response is delayed because I was offline a long time. In case you or someone else is reading –
      I hope you got back to the dr for the wrists. Yes the symptoms you describe do sound like RA. I don’t know if your pcp did an antiCCP test (hopefully in the panel) – that is more specific than a rheumatoid factor. But either one could be negative especially early on.

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  • May 11, 2015 at 7:40 pm
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    Mine started in my wrists. They were so painful I couldn’t have the bedsheets over me while sleeping. Because I’m a computer programmer, they diagnosed me with carpal tunnel and tendonitis multiple times. One doc even thought I was a victim of domestic abuse. That’s when I started avoiding docs. It took 13 yrs and a hospitalization for a pelvis fracture to get me diagnosed. That pelvis fracture was actually a flare.

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  • May 16, 2015 at 10:32 am
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    Hi there,
    I got diagnosed of RA a few days ago and am struggling to comprehend what is going on with me as I had no clue of this disease. Nor do I know anyone who has it. I am 61, female and was very active professionally and in my personal life and want to be so again.
    My symptoms broke out four month ago with pain in the shoulders, followed a month later after a chiropractic treatment of my shoulder pain (!) by very bad swelling on both ankles, then finger joints – every day a new swelling with tremendous pain, pain I never knew before, no movement of fingers possible. I depended on my husband to help me with things like eating. My symptoms got worse – or started off when using my hands. Some days, cldnt write or hold a phone. First, swelling was punctual, fast emerging (2-3 h), aw-ful pain and whilst pain disappeared within 1 day, swellings stayed on for 2-3 days. I had one on each hand, never two, while my shoulders aked all the time.
    RA was excluded as I had no RA makers, yet elevated CRP. After 10 weeks,I received a pain treatment (50 mg Cortison infusion) which stopped new swelling for 2 weeks. Two days later, however, I was hospitalized in the Rheum. Dept. of Berlin’s best Hospital with a new outbreak in my hip due to which I cldnt walk or move. As it didnt last long, was released with the assumption that I must have had an infection followed by those symptoms. My therapy would be Ibuprofen if the symptoms came back.
    Just as if to mock the specialists, the disease retook with speed and this medication didn’t work: every single day, a new swelling in a new joint, combined with huge pain, tiredness. I sat in a wheelchair as my legs were affected. Then was checked for angiooedema, took antihistamine, no avail, and was to stop my blood pressure medication (Candesartan).
    With nine active painful swellings, my cardiologist (!) whom I consulted reg. hypertension medication thought this was RA and – thanks God – put me in hospital, got me another rheumatologist who finally diagnosed RA – by a tool as simple as a MRT of my hand. I have no clue of the status of my disease yet – is it mild or strong? Can I hope for remission? I read that if treatment starts early and is aggressive, there are chances?
    I am grateful for advise on effective treatment. I’ve been taking cortison (30, 20, 15 mg) for the last 4 days and today started with MXT 15 mg. I wonder if this is the best I can do? It seems my rheumatologist treats conventionally. Symptoms are ongoing despite starting treatment. In fact, I had my worst flare yesterday at my knee, with fever and a malaria-like sensation (very cold, very hot, soon over). I have an eye infection, cough, feel really sick.Would biologicals be more effective? What about the times in-between flares? There seems to be no such thing in my case – just permanence of symptoms.
    Glad to get your advise and be in touch!
    Best Gudrun from Berlin, Germany

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    • October 30, 2015 at 10:32 pm
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      Gudrun,
      I am sorry this is a common story to not respond to treatment – but Yes, you are correct: aggressive treatment gives a better chance. There is no way to know which treametnt would work best for you – but that is something that is being researched.

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  • May 24, 2015 at 12:22 pm
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    I am 38 years old with 3 kids. I have had some problems with my knees since toward the end of my last pregnancy. This was about 3 years ago. I noticed pain thay would be behind my knees that would come and go. The OB doctor thought it was more so just weight related from pregnancy. It wasn’t until after 8-10 months after having baby that my knees were really beginning to bother me. I am on my feet all day as a nurse. It started with swelling,redness, and warmth to my left knee that would alternate between the right and then back to the left. Had so much swelling with the right knee while at work that it was causing so much pain to walk on. I left work during my lunch break and was able to be worked in with an orthopedist. He aspirated about 45 mls from my right knee, given prednisone shot, and left with knee brace. I went right back to work after that procedure, feeling like my knee was normal again. After following up with ortho. a few times more and paying the high co-pays – felt like i was getting no where with the constant alternating swelling and pain in both knees. I followed up with my gynocologist few months ago for yearly pap. I asked him if he knew of any connection between hormones and RA. Explained my symptoms seem to be worse about a week before menstrual cycle or after my cycle ends. Its like i was having flare ups even though i have not followed up and had an actual diagnosis of RA. He went ahead and did referral to rhuem. My appt. with him is not until next month. In last few months though, i have had heaviness in my left arm like flyid may bw weighing it down like mt lwgs feel with my knees being swollen. Also, my lef hand feels tight,stiff not wanting to stay open on its own. I have founs my self of a morning driving to having to switch to use my right hand to steering the wheel and placing my left hand under my left thigh while driving due to the stiffness. My body warmth seems to help my left hand feel little bwtter along with keeping my fingers straight up under my leg. I am more concerned though with the heaviness now withe left arm. It seems to be affecting the left shoulder too. If i lift this arm for just a little i have to put down.Hard to be able to excercise. I also have been feeling tired more so last few months. About 2 years ago, after having fluis aspirated, had RA factor test done along with CRP – both came back normal. Sorry for long post – just wanted to see if anyone has had these symptoms. Have tried to get in sooner with rhuem. but they are no earlier availble appts. Feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Melissa

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    • December 6, 2015 at 7:19 am
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      I am sorry my reply is delayed I was offline a long time. But in case Melissa or someone else is reading –
      Yes the symptoms do sound like they could be RA & I hope you have been / are being evaluated by a good dr.

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  • May 30, 2015 at 12:30 pm
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    Omg this sight is so great! I literally thought I was going crazy. The past couple of years my fingers and toes have started to turn and the docs have given me the blood tests and say that nothing is wrong with me. These past couple of years I have also had problems walking and docs say itsunami something nurses get from being on feet all the time and I have to stretch them. This past week I’m getting the swelling in my feet and ankles. My hands hurt almost all the time and lock up at times. Then there’s the tiredness and overall stiffness I chocked up to getting older. Now I’m going to pressure my doc into seeing a specialist. Thank you everyone for your input!!

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  • June 1, 2015 at 10:41 am
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    I would love your opinion. Never been tested for RA or even talked to a DR about it yet. After spine surgery 6 years ago I was left with nerve damage in the upper back for which I take pain pills and other meds. In the last year I have developed hip bursitis in one and starting in the other, plantar fasciitis for over a year, pain in both shoulders and now my hands are getting where I can’t touch my finger due to pain. Diagnosed 6 years ago with carpal tunnel. Could this all be regular arthritis? I am almost 60. But the pain is so bad I have to wait for the pain pill to kick in before I can do anything. And I feel so dang tired ALL the time. The pain keeps up at night so I don’t sleep well. Not meaning to complain just wanting you to know the symptoms. Thank you for listening and helping.

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    • December 6, 2015 at 7:30 am
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      I am sorry that my reply is delayed I was offline a long time. If Rissa or someone else is reading –
      I hope you did /do see a dr. All of those other -itises along with the severe hand & shoulder pain – do sound like rheumatoid disease.
      It is never complaining to ask for help about symptoms that are worrisome to you because they interfere with functioning.

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  • July 1, 2015 at 10:31 pm
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    I remember as a child having swelling & pain in my knee. My dad was always afraid it was a blood clot, and when it happened he would have me elevate my leg…do not remember if it was one or both. But it would happen quickly and could drop me to the ground. No doctor. I also remember never having a balance….i get teased that i cannot walk and chew gum at the same time. At 31 i went to nursing school and started questioning why my feet hurt worse in the morning than at night. My medical doctor had told me it was from carrying 2 tons in a 1ton truck. Podiatrist diagnosed bone spurs and gave me cortisone injections. Then in 06 my right foot swoll up and since my uric acid levels were high, i was told i had gout. Well the medication did little to help and i visited a chiropractor and finally got some relief..till i moved wrong again. I learned to live with that with supports when needed and exercise before i hit the floor after being down a while. Both feet, knees and hips all hurt. Walking is a painful experience that makes me short of breath quickly. I have osteoarthritis in my cervical spine. My feet got progressively more painful. Hit my right great toe, heel, and the ball of my foot, then a few months ago it moved to my left great toe, and the ball of that foot. Ankles ….not much on feet that does not hurt. At times driven to wheelchair, and walker just to get around. My grand daughter is 3 1/2 and the first time i felt like taking her to the park was when Dr K gave me the round of prednisone the first time. Was not all better but livable. I was just diagnosed today ..10 days before my 60’th birthday.

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  • July 3, 2015 at 1:09 pm
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    I was diagnosed with RA in Oct of 2012. But I’m fairly certain I had RA years before the RX. I felt so stiff in the mornings I felt like I had to unfold my body. I believe it started with my arms.

    At the present time, my feet are starting to show more severe signs than before. It’s hard to walk in the morning. I have to sometimes drag my feet to the bathroom. I get painful spots and am uncomfortable in my shoes.

    Last year I went to a podiatrist believing that Medicare would pay for routine treatment, but it turned out I was covered only if I was diabetic. I am still paying for that visit for getting my nails cut and for other things which they called “routine care”. I need to know if my feet keep getting worse if medicare is going to treat me. Has anyone had experience with what medicare does not cover?? I need the assurance that I will be taken care of. Thanks for your comments.

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  • July 3, 2015 at 1:23 pm
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    I just posted a comment about what I believe was the first sign I had of RA. It was in my right arm and shoulder. Like many other on this board the doctor diagnosed it as “frozen shoulder.” It was “frozen” for about eight months. The doctor was ready to break it. I replied NO WAY! and went to a specialist who diagnosed it as a virus and said it would go away within six months. It did go away, but a couple of years later, it came back, but not as bad.

    I am astounded that so many of us seemed to have that same symptom early on. There definitely should be more research. I’ve had what I’ve considered good Rheumatologists who didn’t (as far as I know) connect the shoulder and arm problems to RA.

    Reply
  • July 11, 2015 at 6:09 am
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    Hi Kelly,

    around two months back I had a sudden and severe back pain. Both my hips were involved. I consulted an Ortho who advised bed rest and gave some pain-killers. Even after 3 weeks, the pain did not subside and in the meantime my left knee started swelling and paining along with fever. As my CRP and ESR was found to be high, I was referred to a Rheumatologist who diagnosed the problem as Spondyloarthopathy but later I came to know about RA. Last week my right knee started developing swelling and inflamation (very much like my left knee). My RF & HLA B27 test reports are negative. I tried Accupuncture and it did help in easing my spain. Please guide me.

    Reply
  • July 19, 2015 at 10:44 pm
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    My symptoms started in my wrists. Just before my monthly cycle my wrists would swell so much that I couldn’t move my fingers. It was very painful. This went on for about six months. It stopped as suddenly as it started. Then my ankles did the same thing. One doctor said it was a vitamin B deficiency. Another said it was my cervical spine. Another thought it might be Lupus. By then the pain was extreme and in every joint in my body. After six years I was diagnosed with RA and fibromyalgia…yay me (she said sarcastically).

    Reply
  • August 2, 2015 at 4:05 am
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    The big event was my feet and ankles. Woke up Witherspoon the swollen, hot and painful. After started on methotrexate the pain in my shoulders that I’d had for a couple of years went away. After a coup,e of years now I’m having other joint pain. Seems like my fingers are the last with low level pain. Except my little finger which is swollen at the first joint and painful to straighten or extend.

    Reply
  • August 25, 2015 at 5:31 pm
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    Kelly,

    Not sure if you know, as I read a few posts on here about getting your site more known in the uk, it already is 🙂
    I’ve been on two national RA sites and your site is advertised and mentioned on both as a place to visit for more info.
    I’ll see if i can find the pages for you and post the links.

    Like so many here I’m riddled with RA. It started back in 1998 in my hands, it was really bad for two years then went into remission until this year when it came back with a vengeance and feels like its hit every main joint and some smaller.
    I’m already annoying my doctor and seeing an occupational therapist, just waiting to see the rheumy again now.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2015 at 10:08 pm
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    I am 46 years old and My RA started two months ago. About two months prior to the symptom onset I was involved in a car crash for which I sought chiropractic treatment for whiplash. Around this time I also went to an Optometrist for a severely bloodshot eye and she said it looked like an allergic reaction, gave me drops and said it should pass in a couple of weeks. It didn’t. Now, on many days I have two bloodshot eyes and in hindsight that was my first real clue that RA was coming!
    I went on a 6 week road trip and literally the day after my drive ended, I woke up and could not walk. My feet were so swollen I could not put any of my shoes on and had to wear flip flops and walking was very slow, very painful and felt like walking on broken shards of glass. The pain has since moved from my feet and into my hands, knuckles mainly, my fingers are already showing signs of deformity, bending at odd angles, but the worst pain I feel is in my shoulders and elbows. I also have pain in my knees, ankles and toes. I am tired all the time but often cannot sleep for the pain. I have lost my zest for life and am often very sad as I was such an active happy person before this… I eat organic food and go the gym regularly and dance… now there hardly seem to be enough hours in the day just to get the basic things done.. I have my appointment with the rheumatologist tomorrow and am so hoping there is a way out of this nightmare…

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  • September 14, 2015 at 9:56 am
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    My first symptom was my right hand swelling up one day and going away the next. Then about 2 weeks later my right knee did the same thing (which at that time I went to see my doctor) and I was limping. Once they did a blood test and my RH level came back at 250 they told me and I began treatment with a Rhuematologist in 2012. Since that time my flare ups are hands, feet and ankles. Currently I am on Methotrexate, Sulphasalazine and low doseage of predisone. The damage to my fingers is happening as they are knotting and twisting.

    Reply
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