Finger joint - residual swelling/stiffness from past flare

pinkteapot Member Posts: 48
edited 27. Sep 2019, 17:38 in Living with arthritis
PsA, uncontrolled flare in middle joint of middle finger for almost a year before starting MTX in May this year. MTX has been amazing - I now have zero active inflammation anywhere, but I'm having trouble with that finger.

What's going on is below. My question is: Is physio sufficient? Is there anything else I should be asking for (scans? something else?)

The joint is still very big. I don't know if that's fluidy swelling or bony growth. My rheumy referred me to physio because I couldn't fully straighten it.

The physio has me splinting it straight for several hours a day. My poor husband has to force it straight in the morning, which he hates to do because it hurts me (I keep telling him it's good for me though!). We then put the splint on. When I take it off after a few hours, the finger is initially straight, and I can bend it gently and straighten it again, but then it gradually becomes impossible to straighten again. They said not to sleep in the splint and by morning it's as bent as ever, so we start again.

I've been splinting it daily for a couple of months now. It does help, in that if I miss a day it's more painful when hubby forces it straight the following day. So there's clearly stiffness pain if I don't do the splinting. But it's no closer to me being able to straighten it unaided, which is the outcome I want.

I might just be unrealistic - I might never get the range of motion back? But I'd be interested in other people's experiences.

p.s. I know one finger joint is a slightly pathetic thing to be moaning about compared to the major joint problems most people on here are having! :oops:


  • BettyMac
    BettyMac Member Posts: 217
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Pinkteapot

    I have RA and it’s my hands which have the worst damage too so I know how that makes life difficult. I have a PIP on an index finger which locks if I overextend it. Simple things like holding a book or phone - or even blowing my nose - can be painful.
    As you say, it’s all relative and could be a lot worse.

    Has anyone mentioned seeing an orthopaedic surgeon about your hand?
  • pinkteapot
    pinkteapot Member Posts: 48
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I’ve got fairly used to mine but it hurts when I strain my hand (heavy lifting etc) and not being able to straighten it is annoying - especially when trying to get gloves on or off.

    Orthopaedics haven’t been mentioned so far... I mentioned that I hadn’t been able to straighten the finger for a few months when I saw the rheumy in May (when he put me on MTX) and he referred me to physio then. I’ve been going for three months with splinting for the last couple of months.

    The finger can be forced straight by someone strong (I can’t do it myself with my other hand) but moving it myself I can only get it within about 20 degrees of straight.

    I’m not sure if physio could refer me to anyone else? Unfortunately I’ve only just seen my rheumy for an MTX check up and as I’m doing so well on it I’m not seeing them again for six months.
  • LesleyJ1509
    LesleyJ1509 Member Posts: 26
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have had joint fusion surgery on 4 of my fingers and I must say it is one of the hardest surgeries to recover from. I now cannot bend my fingers are don't have much grip so keep dropping things. Mine is osteoarthritis though. I am asthmatic so can't take anti Inflammatory medication, unfortunately the rest of my fingers are now bulging and need to be fused too. 4f5175ef6ed57dad289df8f85a73011d.jpg

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