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Swollen painful middle joints on fingers

lesley123lesley123 Posts: 42
edited 30. Apr 2013, 13:07 in Living with Arthritis archive
For 6 weeks now the middle joints on the fingers of both hands have been swollen and extremely tender. I cannot knock on a door and it hurts if I accidentally touch a cupboard door with them. They are also stiff but mainly in my right hand. My thumbs and little fingers are unaffected. I have osteoarthritis in my big toes and my gp says that that is what is wrong with my fingers.

I am now allergic to nsaids and have been prescribed co-dydramol but it doesn't seem to be doing much. I am also so tired but I don't know if that is because this is starting to get me down.

Does anyone have any advice?


  • 19smp5919smp59 Posts: 105
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi there, I also have OA in my fingers and thumb joints. They have been settled and painless for ages but just recently have become really painful, especially the thumb joints. I work on a keyboard for most of the day and I don't think that helps. I have found that resting my hands on a hot water bottle really helps with the pain. I find heat really helpful, in fact when drinking a cup of tea, I sit with my hands round the cup, letting the heat get into my joints.
    I was once given some special gloves to wear by an OT but to be honest I don't really like to wear or use anything that draws attention to my problems so I didn't use these.
    Hope you are feeling better soon.
    Suzanne x
  • barbara12barbara12 Posts: 20,945 ✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Lesley
    I have had an injection in my thumb around 5 months ago..and it worked brilliant...so when I go back I will ask for one in my index finger...like you it is really swollen and sore....ask you GP to refer you it is well worth it x
  • villiervillier Posts: 4,426
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I agree with Barbara try some steriod injections I got one a few weeks ago into my thumb they also gave me splints which has helped I'm surprised your GP hasn't already referred you when the joints are so bad, hope you get some relief soon..............Marie x
    Smile a while and while you smile
    smile another smile and soon there
    will be miles and miles of smiles
    just because you smiled I wish your
    day is full of Smiles
  • lesley123lesley123 Posts: 42
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks everyone. I'll try the hot water bottle tonight, Suzanne.

    I'm thinking about changing my GP. It's taken me ages to get an appointment with a podiatrist about my feet. I have to take 2 pairs of shoes so I'm hoping they are going to do something about my collapsed arches. Last year my Gp gave me a prescription for metatarsal arch supports but every pharmacy I went to told me that they'd been discontinued. I work out in the cold as a market researcher and If the cold weather continues I really don't think I can do it any more. I want to see a rheumatologist but the GP just tells me that all that can be done is surgery and that the operation is "brutal".

    I'm just so fed up. I had trouble with my feet for years but didn't think much of it. I just wore wide fitting shoes and took painkillers if it got bad and thought that it wasn't too bad. But the last year has brought a dramatic decline. I can't type with my right index finger and I have to use my middle finger for writing. The slightest touch on certain places of my knuckles just hurts so much. They are very warm to touch as well. The deterioration in my hands has been very dramatic. They were only a bit stiff up until about 6 weeks ago.

    I suppose I've started thinking about what the future will hold. I have a horse who is my pride and joy. He's also my main way of relaxation but I'm so tired after work and my hands hurt so much that I do very little with him now.
  • scozziescozzie Posts: 333
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Lesley,

    I can sympathise with what you're owing through painwise -- I have OA in both hands and most joints below my knees, although my ankles joined the party about six months after the others. My ankles mainly hurt in cold weather, and the only way to describe them is that they feel "brittle" when they're sore ... what I have found is if I wear boots during the winter they're not so bad. So maybe that's a suggestion for you.

    Good luck
  • Star2001Star2001 Posts: 96
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Lesley, I don't want to alarm you but please see another gp and ask for a referral to rheumatology. This is exactly how my problems began, and I too have osteoarthritis in my fingers but I knew this felt different. I was diagnosed with RA and, while I know that osteo pain can be excruciating, if there is something else going on it is SO important to get on the right drugs straight away to stop any joint damage. Just thought I'd mention it - I don't get chance to look in much these days.

    Best wishes and good luck with it all!
  • Mat48Mat48 Posts: 1,161
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Yes I agree with the last comment re urgent referral. I have both OA and RA in my hands and they affect different joints and feel different pain-wise too. OA tends to affect the DIP joints - the ones nearest to your nails - but can also affect the middle finger joints. Mine did feel very sore/ painful when the bony shards were forming and aches a bit in cold weather still but RA pain is deeper like acid burning into the joints, more like fractures, and makes you feel tired and ill too. RA affects your knuckles and middle finger joints more and the heat you describe and type of pain and stuff in knuckles corresponds far more with RA.

    Your GP sounds a bit useless. Try and find a better one who will refer you ASAP I would say. The window before damage is done can be quite short so its important. Mat xx
    If you get lemons, make lemonade
  • BioluminescenceBioluminescence Posts: 42
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    You should really try to ask for to see a different GP if you're doctors has a few or consider changing practices. Not sure if you're in England but if you are sometimes nhs choices can be useful to finding a better one, if you don't have many people in the area to recommend one. It needs to be looked at and taken seriously and I think any decent GP wouldn't need much persuasion about that. It must be having a real impact on your life not being able to use your fingers properly. :/

    If you want to persist with your current GP make sure you are stressing some of the differences between the fingers and the toes and demand you want it tested or for a referral to a specialist. Would recomend seeing someone else though because GPs can vary so much.

    Good luck with everything and let us know how you get on.
  • lesley123lesley123 Posts: 42
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks everyone. My fingers did feel different from the pain in my toes. Thankfully the pain and swelling has now subsided. It was a burning pain. Should I wait until they swell up again before I make a GP appointment? They still hurt when I touch anything with them, like they are badly bruised. I am still very tired though.

    I am also having problems with hernias at the minute. I had a spigelian one repaired in September last year and since then another has been found and so I am expecting to be readmitted for that one to be repaired shortly. I fell as if I'm plaguing the NHS at the minute and my GPs think I'm a nuisance! My last appointment was mainly about my hernia and by the time I got round to mentioning my fingers time was running out.
  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Posts: 31,567 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Tiredness is part-and-parcel of any form of arthritis, and is usually a sign with an auto-immune one that it's active. Making sure you get enough rest is important - and plague your GP if necessary because it's not your fault you have a number of things going on with you and it's his job to help. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • lesley123lesley123 Posts: 42
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Well, I finally had my appointment with my favourite GP. He has ordered blood tests without me having to ask for them. He also gave the hospital a kick up the backside to hurry my hernia repair and gave me some meds to help me sleep as the pain for the hernia is worsening.

    Well worth the wait :D
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