Symptoms and course

The main symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Joint pain, tenderness, swelling or stiffness for six weeks or longer
  • Small joints (wrists, certain joints of the hands and feet) are affected
  • Pain (often at rest/ early morning) and swelling or deformation of the affected joints
  • A reduced mobility, which is usually most pronounced in the morning ("morning stiffness"), for 30 minutes or longer
  • Warm feeling
  • A reduced gripping power of the hands with effects on everyday tasks

RA is a systemic condition- it can affect the whole body. About 40% of the people who have RA also experience signs and symptoms that affect skin, eyes, lungs, heart, bone marrow or nerve tissue.1

Often, the disease is bumpy. This means that sometimes symptom-free phases alternate with phases in which pain and general complaints occur frequently. In general, the course of the RA is variable and can be individually very different.

If you suffer from the symptoms described, you should consult a rheumatologist, as an early diagnosis and thus early treatment are particularly important in RA.


  1. Rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis and treatment. Mayo Clinic website. Accessed July 11,2018