Joint pain and stiffness can be caused by other medical conditions besides rheumatoid arthritis, including:
- Osteoarthritis (most common form of arthritis).
- Crystal deposits in the joint (gout and pseudogout).
- Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE).
- Polymyalgia rheumatica.
- Inflammation of blood vessels in the body (vasculitis).
- Spondyloarthropathies (such as Reiter's syndrome[reactive arthritis], ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis).
- Bacterial arthritis.
- Lyme disease.
- Viral diseases such as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).
- Torn cartilage in the joint.
Usually, a doctor will diagnose rheumatoid arthritis by evaluating your symptoms, understanding your past health, and doing certain blood tests to rule out other causes for your symptoms.
By Healthwise Staff Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine Specialist Medical Reviewer Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology Last Revised June 5, 2012