Understanding Rheumatic Fever -- Symptoms

Medically Reviewed by Kumar Shital, DO on September 14, 2023
1 min read
  • Swollen, tender, red, and extremely painful joints -- particularly the knees, ankles , elbows, or wrists
  • Fever
  • A red, raised, lattice-like rash, usually on the chest, back, and abdomen
  • Nodules, or small protuberances, over the swollen joints
  • Chest pain, fast heartbeat, shortness of breath (caused by heart involvement)
  • Uncontrollable or jerky movements of arms, legs, or facial muscles (called chorea)

These symptoms can show up one to five weeks after a strep throat or scarlet fever infection where these infections were not treated properly. Sometimes, however, people with rheumatic fever do not recall having had a sore throat.

  • You are experiencing the symptoms listed in the symptoms section, particularly if you remember having recently had a sore throat. You may have rheumatic fever and should receive medical attention.
  • You have a sore throat without other cold symptoms accompanied by a fever higher than 101 F and swollen glands in your neck. You may have strep throat and should receive medical attention.
  • You experience sudden and unexplained joint pain after recovering from strep throat.