Symptoms occur on both sides of the body, she says. They may also be present in the knees, elbows, and sometimes, the shoulders, ankles, hips, and neck. "With RA, it's not just about one joint, as in osteoarthritis, when an injury could occur from overuse," says Dr. Noss. "Pain in multiple joints is characteristic of RA. Joints can also appear swollen and warm. Over time, if RA is not treated, joints may become deformed and lose function."