Being investigated for Rheumatoid Arthritis

AMT Member Posts: 9
edited 28. Nov 2023, 14:10 in Living with arthritis

Hi I have just joined the community. Since Xmas I have felt like all my muscles in my wrists, ankles, calves, arms and hands are either too short or stretched like a piece of elastic that cant stretch any more. This was dismissed by my GP as just part of my Osteoarthritic knee but I was not convince3d, I saw a different GP who really listened to my concerns re the muscle problem being something different and she has referred me to the Rheumatology Department plus a load of blood tests. She suggested that Rheumatoid Arthritis might be a possibility and reading the NHS description of symptoms I feel she may be right. Has anyone else experienced the start of rheumatoid arthritis? I cant believe how quickly my muscles seem to be seizing up. My hands are getting weaker, little grip and scared of dropping things as a consequence ...all literally since Xmas. Thanks for reading


  • CarylW
    CarylW Moderator Posts: 233

    Hello @AMT

    I am glad you have found our online community and I hope that you will get some useful help from our friendly and supportive members.

    I understand that as well as having osteoarthritis in your knee, you have been experiencing muscular problems since Christmas, which are now being investigated as possibly Rheumatoid Arthritis.

    I am posting below some links to our website which will hopefully give you some information:

    Do keep posting, and let us know how you are getting on.

    Best wishes


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

  • Louisa77
    Louisa77 Administrator Posts: 245

    Hi @AMT

    I thought I'd share with you the link to all the different discussions about rheumatoid arthritis as there are so many on here with this condition...

    rheumatoid arthritis — Versus Arthritis

    Hope you find some comfort from not being alone and please do keep posting and keep us updated on your diagnosis.

    Best wishes


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

  • AMT
    AMT Member Posts: 9

    Thankyou Louisa

  • Woofy
    Woofy Member Posts: 212

    Hi. I was diagnosed last year. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. I have seen the Rheumatologists 3 times now, and tried two different types of medication. Probably about to try another. There isn’t a quick fix, so hang in there. They will get you sorted, and the help they give is brilliant. But everyone is different, and not all medication suits all people. I have it in most of my joints, and it has been hard to cope at times, especially with not being able to do the things in quite the same way as before, but I am hopeful that I’ll get on the right meds soon. Have a telephone consult tomorrow. Good luck with your appointment.

  • AMT
    AMT Member Posts: 9

    Hi Woofy Can I ask ..have you experienced a sensation as if all your muscles/tendons are too taut or so stretched like a piece of elastic that can't be stretched any further? That tautness in ankles wrists, muscles in my hands, calves arms is happening so fast, basically since Xmas and getting steadily worse. . I had to keep going back to the Dr to talk about it, as it was basically being dismissed as "just osteoarthritis" but a different Dr listened and has referred me to rheumatology, re RA. I do get stiff knees (osteoarthritis apparently) but not outwardly red or inflamed joints. I am so confused about whether or not my symptoms match this consideration of RA!

  • Nfk_gal0617
    Nfk_gal0617 Member Posts: 39

    Hi AMT, It can be very difficult to get a diagnosis. My G.P. was very though back in 2017, did lots of blood tests, started with gout and other imflamatory markers but all came back negative. The problem at the time was my toes, right foot, very swollen, red hot with shooting pains. This turned my foot into a plank, very difficult, but not imposible (used the side of my foot) to walk. After several more blood tests, an X ray, G.P. decided, like yours "just ostearthritis". I would like to bet that if all 60 year old had an xray we would all show signs of wear and tear.

    Good for you that you keep going back. I did the same. The intial imflamation went down over several months but the stiffness remained in my big toe stopped me walking correctly - this made my knees and hip ache......G.P. said he would refer me for some foot beds to correct my walking. I got an appt to see orthopaedic surgeons six months later! In the meantime my wrists had swollen and everyday tasks were very difficult, very scary.

    The swelling would move around from - This was not Osteoarthritis. Orthopeadics took one look at me and referred me to Rheumatology.

    Not easy to get diagnosised , or to look things up, I found, when you do not have a name for your condition.

    Hopefully your appt will come through soon, take care, Nfk gal

  • jamieA
    jamieA Member Posts: 605

    Hi @AMT

    I have psoriatic arthritis and have also been diagnosed with enthesitis whereby my tendons and ligaments become inflamed and sore. My hands and arms are particularly affected with my right wrist and forearm swelling regularly. I also get it in my back, legs and feet occasionally. It can be mistaken for tennis elbow and plantar fasciitis. It's more common in PsA sufferers apparently but sufferers of other forms of inflammatory arthritis can also be diagnosed with it.

  • AMT
    AMT Member Posts: 9

    Thankyou Jamie A that is useful to know

  • AMT
    AMT Member Posts: 9

    Thanks all for your comments and advice. I have seen Rheumatologist who says unlikely to be RA as I have no redness or swelling and some blood markers are not high. I have explained about muscles/tendons but he is telling me this is osteoarthritis. I am not really convinced as the muscles /tendons are getting significantly worse. Since Xmas literally I have lost the ability to open cartons, turn door handles , can't lay my hands flat, lost all backward bend in my wrists and only minimal forward bend left in my wrists! Achilles tendons feel so over stretched I have to go downstairs one step at a time. All since Xmas.

    I am seeing RA specialist in July but I think he is going to discharge me back to the GP who just says everything is caused by osteo arthritis even though, apart from my osteo in my knees, is apparently only *mild* osteo in my hands! I am a bit concerned that Osteoarthritis is being blamed for everything without other possibilities being considered. Even my Physiotherapist has suggested to GP that there should be further investigationsof other possible causes - into my very rapid hand deterioration - but nothing being done as yet.🤔

    Sorry for the rant, it was meant to be an update

  • Woofy
    Woofy Member Posts: 212

    Hi AMT. sorry for the late reply. I’ve been having other health issues recently. Yes I have had joint and muscle pain, but with no hot joints to touch. I have been back to see the Rheumatologist a few times, and always showing a weak RA marker. However I went on Thursday, as the Rheumatologist wasn’t happy that the Sulphsalazine I’d been taking for about 4 months, hadn’t really helped with the pain. She did further ultrasounds on my feet and hands last Thursday, and has told me there are significant changes, so now I start Methotrexate tomorrow. I have been given a longer low dose of steroids to bridge the gap, until the RA meds kick in, which usually takes 3 months, as do all these types of drugs. It’s been a long road to get to where I am now, about 18months. Don’t give up, if you are in pain, keep keep letting the doctors/ hospital know. Not every drug works for everyone, and not everyone gets a clear diagnosis straight away. Good luck. X

  • ljt79
    ljt79 Member Posts: 14

    Hi AMT,

    Sorry it's so tough!

    It's possible to have sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis (and other types of inflammatory arthritis), so I would push for reasons they don't think it's possible here when you go back in July. It's important to understand their thinking to be able to process it (or challenge it, if necessary).

    While it's more common to have visible swelling and redness alongside the pain with inflammatory arthritis, it isn't always (I have a mix, but only occasionally is it visible). It might be worth looking at the Palindromic Rheumatism page ( as there is a good image showing the way the tendons are involved. Given the consistency of your symptoms, it may not be what you have, but might give you some ideas of how to describe the tendon pain and come up with questions to ask in July?

    Did the rheumatologist do more scans? If so, did they try ultrasound? I think that's supposed to be good for showing inflammation in tendons. Might be worth asking if they didn't?

    I have been given a very vague initial diagnosis (similar to PR, but not really...), but because I am sero-positive and have RA family history they are expecting to give me a full RA diagnosis at some point. It's frustrating for now, as a lack of erosion on x-rays doesn't stop the pain being real!

    Thinking of you and hope you get some answers soon!


  • AMT
    AMT Member Posts: 9

    Thankyou for all your helpful replies and apologies for not replying sooner. I have been unwell.

    I saw a consultant about the osteoarthritis in my knee and discussed my tendon problems with him. I told him that the RA specialist was suggesting this was caused by Osteoarthritis. He disagreed and has referred me for an MRI. Hopefully this will provide further information on what is going on.

    best wishes

    PODGE Member Posts: 14


    After 3 months of debilitating pain moving around my body everyday.

    I constantly pestered doc who kept putting me on pain killers which did not touch pain!

    FInally referred to RA Consultant refused to leave until full diagnosis had bloods xrays and steroid injection and was told PR. So came home knowing what was wrong eventually.

    I waa given Naproxen and codydromol first sent me loopy.

    I persisted with doctor and Consultants again now on Hydroxychloroquine and have emergency steroids.

    By no means cured but noticed changes in body said upto 15 weeks to fully kick in !

    I take it day by day now.

    Enjoy your day !