Rheumatoid arthritis affects joints on both parts of the body equally. Fingers, wrists, knees, feet, elbows, ankles, hips, and shoulders are the areas that tend to be most affected. The condition starts slowly, and the first symptoms tend to be: mild joint pain, stiffness, and fatigue.
Other symptoms include morning stiffness that lasts longer than one hour. The joints may feel hot, weak, or sensitive and rigid when they are not used for a while. Joint pain is often the same on both sides of the body. Joints may become inflamed. Over time, joints may lose their range of movement and become deformed.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Chest pain when breathing (pleurisy)
- Dry eyes and mouth (Sjögren syndrome)
- Burning, itching, or discharge in the eyes
- Nodules under the skin
- Limb numbness or tingling
- Difficulty sleeping.