My name is Kevin, I'm 38, reasonably fit (until recently) and am worried that I may have some type of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
I'll try to explain why I think I may have RA. It may take a while though so I hope you're sitting comfortably!
Just over a year ago, I started getting pain and stiffness in my right shoulder. I thought nothing of it and suspected that I'd just slept wrongly on it. The pain never went away though. In fact, it started getting worse. Not only that, the left one also started getting sore. I visited my GP and was told that I had a suspected frozen shoulder. He then proceeded to give me a steroid injection in to the right shoulder. It had absolutely no effect. So, I went down a different route. I'm lucky enough that my work allows me access to private medical care. They have a specialist Musculo-skeletal team who are on the end of the phone whenever needed. I gave them a call and they referred me to a local physiotherapist. After some sessions with my physio, she recommended that I try to see a specialist.
In the mean time, my foot also began to get sore (I felt very hard done by at this point but didn't necessarily connect the problems). My GP and a chiropodist diagnosed me with Planter fasciitis. I started getting treatment for said condition, again with little or no improvement.
I saw the shoulder specialist who gave me an MRI on both of my shoulders but initially told me he couldn't see anything amiss so he'd refer me to a neurologist in order to get some nerve conduction tests done.
I got the nerve conduction tests (very odd experience) and found out my nerves were all fine.
I went back to the shoulder specialist who told me the radiographer, on analysing my MRIs had seen a small tear in my right rotator cuff. I was booked in for surgery a couple of days later. The operation successfully repaired a full width rotator cuff repair. For good measure, the surgeon also gave me a steroid injection in my left shoulder which seemed to make a big difference when I woke up.
Fast forward a couple of months of recovery and physio, I managed to see a specialist about the problem in my foot. He told me I definitely did not have plantar fasciitis in my right foot and thought I might have some type of arthritis instead. This was an NHS appointment and I was referred locally to a visiting rheumatologist.
I then had to go back to the shoulder surgeon so he could perform a capsular release on my left shoulder. This seemed to free things up lovely at first. Also, my right shoulder was beginning to feel normal again after the rotator cuff tear repair. However, the surgeon asked why I was taking strong anti inflammatory tablets. I mentioned the fact that the NHS foot specialist had thought I may have arthritis in my foot. He told me I should tell the rheumatologist about my shoulders as well since he believed there could be a connection.
I got the rheumatologist appointment, he didn't think the foot and shoulders were connected at all and referred me for an MRI on my foot.
My shoulders have since started to get sore again and I've had the MRI on my foot. My shoulder surgeon told me he completely disagrees with the rheumatologist regarding my shoulders and foot being connected so has referred me to a private rheumatologist?!?!?
Anyway, I have a follow up appointment with both the NHS rheumatologist and initial consultation with the private one coming up in the next couple of weeks!
The pain seems worse in the morning and in the evening. I've been trying to exercise but sometimes find it too sore. It's all getting me down as I keep reading that it's important to start getting treatment early on. For me, I've been trying to get something done for about 14 months and it's wearing on me a lot.
Sorry for the long-winded post but I'm glad I have found somewhere where I can hopefully find some support from people who may be in a similar situation.