Newly diagnosed

Hi , I was diagnosed last week but don't feel I know what to do next .

My specialist gave me splints and told me to take paracetamol and use icepacks when the pain is bad . He also said no heavy lifting or anything that will make it worse

Will my gp be in touch to arrange anything or do I need to get in touch with them ?

There's so much information out there but I just don't know where to start


  • Hi Shellradcliffe

    Thank you for your posting on the forum. I see that you have only just been diagnosed with arthritis. It can be a very difficult time when you have just been diagnosed to know how to manage the condition and knowing where to start.

    You have not said what type of arthritis you have. There are many different types but the most common is osteoarthritis. There are many ways to manage this condition. Taking painkillers, using icepacks or heat packs and exercising the joints is also recommended for arthritis. If the GP thinks you may have another type of arthritis, they may refer you to a rheumatologist. Your doctor may refer you if specialist help is needed to manage your osteoarthritis – this might be for physiotherapy, podiatry for foot problems, or occupational therapy, which can help if you’re having difficulty with everyday activities.

     You could contact your GP and check what type of arthritis you have. If you have a different diagnosis other than osteoarthritis please contact us and we can provide information about that specific type. You can also request that your GP refers you to a physiotherapist who can help with specific exercises for the condition. Looking after your joints is important and a combination of rest and activity can help. You have said you have splints. I wonder if the arthritis is mainly in your hands? I have put a link to our information on managing hand and wrist pain. If other joints are affected then we can provide links to further information.

    I know that information can be confusing.  I have put links to some information on our website. The first looks at what is arthritis which may help clarify the different conditions. I have also put a link for our information on osteoarthritis and how to manage this.

    What is arthritis?, managing symptoms and understanding your condition


    Hand and wrist pain

    I hope this information is helpful and will help you start to be able to manage the condition. I would like to encourage you to call us here on the helpline where you can talk things through with one of our helpline advisors who can provide further information about how to manage arthritis and what may help. You can contact us on the helpline for free on 0800 5200 520. We are open Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm.

    Best Wishes

    Dawn Smith

    Helpline Advisor

  • Thank you

    I have osteoarthritis in my hands and wrists

    Its been particularly bad this last week and my right forearm has been swollen

    Its so painful so any extra information is appreciated

  • Hi @Shellradcliffe

    Thank you for getting back to us. I’m sorry your pain and swelling is particularly bad at present.

    You can find some more specific information about managing OA of the hand and wrist below. However, there is no mention there of the swelling in the forearm that you describe. You would need to seek a medical opinion about that.

    You may wish to ask your GP for capsaicin cream. This is a drug-free, effective, and very well-tolerated painkiller which is available on prescription from your GP and is very effective for OA of the hands. It works mainly by reducing a pain transmitter in the nerves.  It doesn’t provide instant relief though – it builds up in the system and people usually notice a difference within a week or so of starting it.

    You can read more about it and the randomised controlled trials in which it was given a score of 5/5 for effectiveness for treating pain due to osteoarthritis of the hand here.

    As Dawn said, you’re very welcome to call us on our freephone helpline: 0800 5200 520 so you can talk things through with one of our helpline team. We can explain the capsaicin cream in more detail to hep you have a more informed discussion with your GP about whether it’s right for you.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Best wishes


    Helpline Team