You’ve been waking up in the morning with painful stiffness in your joints. Your fingers or knees just won’t unbend easily, making it hard to start your normal day. Perhaps you’re having joint pain in both wrists or ankles. These are some of the common signs of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease.
The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre in The Woodlands, Texas, is expertly equipped to handle rheumatoid arthritis patients, whether you’re experiencing a flare-up or this is the onset of the condition. Our expert providers are exactly the team you need.
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. Your body mistakenly attacks the lining of your joints, thinking that a suspicious invader needs to be ejected from your system. You need the protective lining in your joints; it stops your bones from rubbing against each other. Treatments for RA are very effective when the disease is caught early. That’s why it helps to know the telltale symptoms.
What are common signs of rheumatoid arthritis?
Following are five common symptoms of RA. If you have any one or more of these, don’t hesitate to call The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre for an appointment.
Symmetric joint pain
Pain in your joints is one of the first signs of RA. Which joints are most likely to be affected? If both of the joints in your knees, hands, or ankles are painful, you may have rheumatoid arthritis. RA, unlike osteoarthritis, is often symmetric, affecting the joints on both sides of your body..
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that a physical system isn’t working as it should. As with other ailments, you’ll be ahead of the game by seeking early treatment rather than waiting until the pain is unbearable.
Are you especially stiff when you wake up, but you haven’t strained a muscle or sustained another type of injury? Stiff joints that are difficult to move are a hallmark of RA, and morning stiffness is especially marked in RA patients.
It’s not a good idea to just keep a stiff upper lip and hope the problem goes away. Consulting a specialist is important if you have pain of unexplained origin.
Are your fingers, wrists, knees, or feet swollen? Swelling is a common sign of RA inflammation. What’s happening? Excess fluid has flooded the area around your painful joints. Your immune system thinks there are invaders in your system it needs to clear out and overreacts; it attacks the lining in your joints. Your skin is puffy, painful, and may be red. Over time, if untreated, you may lose function in the joints that are affected.
Fatigue is a symptom of many diseases, but when it pairs with painful and/or swollen joints, it’s usually a sign of rheumatoid arthritis. Pain can literally wear you out, making it difficult to get through your daily routine, much less take part in hobbies, sports, or other activities you enjoy.
If you’re experiencing a low-grade fever, you’ll probably be experiencing fatigue as well. Any time fever is present for no apparent reason, it’s important to seek medical treatment to find out what’s going on. When fever is paired with fatigue and painful joint issues, it’s likely rheumatoid arthritis.
Your The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre physician conducts several tests to determine the root cause of your painful joints. If you do have RA, our team has a wide range of treatments that are going to help you manage the condition, ranging from specific medications to physical therapy to injections and lifestyle changes.
Call The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre for an appointment today, or send us a message online, if you have unexplained musculoskeletal pain or swelling.