Recently diagnosed

Colinthefisherman Member Posts: 2
edited 28. Nov 2023, 14:06 in Living with arthritis

After shielding due to Covid from March last year till August I returned to my job in the building trade. After a few days every night after work the pain in my hands and wrists was unbearable. This went on for a few weeks until I had no grip and was starting to drop things. Eventually went sick and self referred my self to the local musculoskeletal and after two telephone consultations and one face to face it was deemed I had carpel tunnel syndrome and possible arthritis. I ended up doing a occupational health hand vibration test also through work. We then went back to shielding and finally managed to get back to work in December however only for 7 days unfortunately doing repetitive work the pain returned. I went back asking the musculoskeletal dept for steroid injections to be told as I was shielding I couldn’t have them but was referred to the consultant. I went back to shielding again in December and should have gone back to work in April but I’m now back on sick leave due to not being able to carry out my job. I have now seen the consultant and was asked if I’ve had X-rays and up to now I haven’t . Well I was told I have severe arthritis in the base of both thumbs and a large cyst in my right one. I am due to have guided X-ray steroid injections in both thumbs at the end of the month. I’m also on the waiting list for trapeziectomy surgery to both thumbs but not at the same time. Work have sent me for another occupational health assessment and it’s not looking good they have advised for no use of power tools in the short and medium term and possibly long term. My current job and the one I’ve done for majority of my life can’t be done without power tools. I’m suffering from mental health issues already from being shielding over a year I can’t stand not working and it looks like I won’t be able to carry my job out any longer. Has anyone else been in this situation and how did you find your way out of it.


  • Anna
    Anna Moderator Posts: 968

    Hello @Colinthefisherman, welcome to the online community,

    This year has been really been such a difficult one for so many people, and the story of your past year sounds like you have had a really challenging one. It’s understandable that you are suffering with your mental health after shielding for most of the year, being in severe pain and then learning that you may not be able to continue work because of your diagnoses.

    Many of our members can relate to all or part of what you write. We are all living with arthritis in some way and for many of us it has been life-changing. I had to take early retirement from a job I really loved and I found it very hard to come to terms with. I can understand how you feel - it takes a lot of getting used to. But after a while, I did come to terms with it. My life changed but it’s still a very good life, just very different from my previous one. I think I learned that I have to take one step at a time and not expect things to improve all at once.

    it sounds like you are doing all the right things to get your diagnosis confirmed and to start on the correct treatment. It will make such a difference when you are in less pain. It also seems like you are being pro-active in finding out about your condition and dealing with your workplace. If you need to talk to someone who might be able to help with workplace issues, Versus Arthritis have a dedicated helpline with advisors - it might be worth contacting them.

    I’m sure there will be others on the forum who will want to offer you their support and encouragement and the benefit of their advice. Please let us know how you’re getting on.

    With best wishes,

    Anna ( Mod)

    Need more help? - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,414

    Hi @Colinthefisherman

    I am so very sorry about all this😕it's just awful when a diagnosis like this leads to someone being unable to do the job they have done all their lives. I am presuming that you are far too young to retire yet and wouldn't want to anyway?

    Do you work for a large enough company where they could move you to another role while you at least have your surgeries and a chance to recover?

    Information on surgeries/options:

    and in this 'old' thread is a link to the trapeziectomy fact sheet:

    I wish you they very best of luck with your steroid injections for some of us it can make a huge difference. Though you must rest those hands as much as possible for as long as they tell you (as long as possible really) to give it the best chance.

    Please do keep posting we really do understand pain here.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,740

    Hi @Colinthefisherman , what a difficult situation you find yourself in. But many of us on here have had to find new ways to do things, or give up some things altogether that have been long term employment or leisure activities, and it's really hard.

    I'm sure you've given a lot of thought to how you can do your job differently, or just limit yourself to activities that are more suited to your condition. My job is very physical at times, but I've had to give up many aspects of it as they leave me in so much pain, or actually a health and safety risk when I can't rely on my body to do the job properly. I'm "lucky" in that I'm self employed to it's a little easier for me to adapt they type of work I do, but it's deeply frustrating, has made a huge hole in my income, and yes, it has left me depressed at times.

    I try to replace everything I've had to give up with something new, so you don't feel there's a hole left in your life, and it gives you something new to learn and engage with (I'm 61). I try not to mourn the things I've given up for too long, and focus on the things I can still do. But also I've had to recognise that this is also part of aging, and there will inevitably come a time when even without arthritis I'd have to give them up anyway, if only by just retiring.

    It's hard to give things up before you're ready, but try not to spend too much time looking back and thinking "if only", and look forward to how you can make your life easier for yourself by going in a different direction. There's no shame in that. It is what it is. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade xx