Rheumatoid arthritis causes stiff fingers in the morning, according to WebMD. In addition, it causes other symptoms, such as pain, swelling and stiffness elsewhere in the body. People who address the early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can prevent joint damage later on.
In addition to finger stiffness, rheumatoid arthritis sometimes causes pain, swelling and fatigue. Patients may find that their joints are less stiff after a couple of hours. Stiffness sometimes occurs in other parts of the body, including the elbows, knees, ankles, feet and wrists. This is because rheumatoid arthritis is an immune system response that causes swelling in the soft tissue covering the joints, making it difficult to bend them.
Rheumatoid arthritis grows worse over three stages, and those who address the symptoms early in the disease can prevent joint damage in the future. At stage one, stiffness is common, but by stage three there is damage to the cartilage that makes it difficult to move the joints altogether. In some cases, doctors can prescribe medications early enough in the disease to prevent severe problems. Physical and heat therapies are also useful, like spas. Finally, rheumatoid arthritis patients can care for themselves at home by reducing the impact on their joints, engaging in water aerobics and alternating between resting and moving the affected areas.