Hi everyone and happy Easter!
My GP has just referred me to a rheumatologist, i'll give you a brief resume why...
I'm 40 years old and for years I've had achy ankles, knees and wrists/hands and hobbled out of bed and downstairs, taking a while to get going, but put that down to playing netball 3 times a week and being a working mum to 2 teenage boys (I'm a teaching assistant but due to qualify as a real teacher this summer). I've had several netball related injuries over the years - bad grade 3 ankle sprain, wrist sprain, fallen heavily on my elbow, several finger injuries, but have always recovered and just got on with it!
In November last year, I would wake during the night and after napping on the sofa with the most excruciating pain in my right writs that would radiate up my arm. I put up with it - again thinking it was normal for an active person, but ended up going to the GP surgery when we broke from school at Christmas, mainly because my wrist pain was making writing painful at school. I saw a locum doctor who despite my protestations said i'd sprained it and sent me away with anti inflams. As predicted, there was no change so I went back and saw another GP who did the finkelstein (? spelling) test and diagnosed De Quervains tendonitis and tenosynovitis and referred me for physio. The wait was so long for NHS physio that I paid private and saw a therapist for 6 weeks but again no change, so he suggested I went back to the GP. She said that there was nothing further she could do as I needed cortisone injection into the tendon to treat it from the inside, so she referred me to orthopaedics at the hospital. He confirmed the diagnosis and made an appointment for cortisone under ultra sound.
Long story short now - think you might be nodding off - doctor who performed the ultra sound asked me about join pain and said there were several areas of inflammation, actually in both wrists rather than just the one that was causing pain and in his opinion the ultrasound findings suggested that further tests were needed to see what the underlying cause of pain was.
I'm now in a splint to immobilise my thumb and due to have a custom made one fitted on Tuesday which I need to wear 24 hours a day for 4-6 weeks, to repair the painful tendon I had injected. Obviously I've also been told to stop playing netball immediately! I have a copy of the letter sent to my GP which says that the ultrasound found significant tenosynovitis of the ECU and digital extensor tendons and that a referral to a rheumatologist should be made, which I have a date of the 15th May.
I'm getting myself in a right tizz, reading far too much and matching my symptoms to RA - the internet is a dangerous tool! What can I expect from a rheumatologist? Is the ultrasound enough to diagnose RA or could it be something else? My mum as oesteoarthritis but no history of RA, although she's going through a bad patch at the moment and has been sent for an X-ray on her hands and bloods to rule out RA.
Sorry it's so long, I needed a rant!