Joint pain can be an early symptom of many different diseases. In rheumatoid arthritis, symptoms often develop slowly over a period of weeks or months. Fatigue and stiffness are usually early symptoms. Weight loss and a low-grade fever can also occur.
Joint symptoms include:
Painful, swollen, tender, stiff joints. The same joints on both sides of the body (symmetrical) are usually affected, especially the hands, wrists, elbows, feet, ankles, knees, or neck.
Morning stiffness. Joint stiffness may develop after long periods of sleeping or sitting. It lasts at least 60 minutes and often up to several hours.