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What on earth is happening to my fingers? Anyone got any ideas?

(20 Posts)

It can be frustrating trying to figure things out. I've seen many, many rhematologists over the years. It wasn't until I saw this latest one that I got a diagnosis and some help.

I don't think the knew what to do with me as a teenager. They ended up giving me a wrist splint to wear for writing at school, and extra time in my exams. And a bit of utterly pointless physio.

Actually this time I've got all the utterly pointless physio anyone could want. I let the kind of discharge me from the whole thing (although I can phone and arrange another pointless session if I feel like it) because they didn't do anything. They showed me exercises that are far too easy for me (as I've been going to yoga for years, and with teachers who specialise in back pain and/or have AS themselves) and then moaned at me for not doing 4 hours of hardcore cardio exercise every week (like actually hardcore, not walking, gardening and chasing around after your small kids). No amount of pointing out that with a FT job, a family and the need to do daily stretching and breathing exercise seemed to convince them that this wasn't really useful advice...

Some people get really great physio though. One of my colleagues gets really helpful physio from a different hospital (in another area, predictably). They actually help her and give realistic advice based on her actual life. Maybe you could get a physio referral and see if that helps?

FeuDeSnowyRussie Fri 07-Dec-12 12:45:09

That sounds horrible Arbitrary. I've already seen a rheumatologist, about 6 months ago, and he said to make another appt (through my gp I guess) if my symptoms come back.

I've got ankylosing spondylitis. Absolutely nothing shows up in my bloods (and I don't have HLA-B27 either). It doesn't matter how much pain I'm in, or how obvious it is that there is plenty of inflammation there, all the blood tests always come back negative (apparently this isn't that unusual). It affects most of my joints, including my hands. None of the doctors can ever see swelling in my hands (and my joints there don't tend to heat up) but they are stiff and painful (and DH notices when they are very slightly swollen). The swelling in my sacroiliac joints does make my skin hot to touch (but not red).

The problem first manifested as an issue with my knees (as a teenager) and then my hands and wrists. It wasn't until I was 30 that they could finally diagnose me, because it was at that point that I started to get back pain along with everything else. I find it painful to straighten my fingers (and to bend them). I also find it agonisingly painful to write more than a few words. I take naproxen, which helps a bit. Well quite a lot (in that not taking it is a truly dreadful idea); it just doesn't mean that it's not painful, which is always disappointing. I also take amitriptyline to help with pain/to help me sleep. It helps with the latter a lot more than the former, but seems to be much less effective over time. So I also take loads of paracetamol too. Hot water can help too (much more convenient when it's just your hands, that when you need to help your lower back and hips).

Ask you GP to refer you to a rheumatologist. It doesn't matter that you tested negative for RF; there are plenty of other conditions that can cause your symptoms and a GP won't be able to help with that.

FeuDeSnowyRussie Fri 07-Dec-12 12:13:31

GP test for rheumatoid factor, which I didn't have, though I know you don't tend to have it in the early stages. Is that the anti ccp test? I also had X-rays which didn't show anything, but again the rheumatologist said they might not show anything if it's early stages. He said if it came back they would do an imaging test that shows the joints in more detail. I was hoping it was just a one off thing but now it has come back, so I guess I should go back to the rheumatologist.

Neurofen helps a bit yes. My fingers don't feel bent back though, they are curling towards my palm. It was v painful last night but not too bad this morning.

shitmagnet Fri 07-Dec-12 10:03:05

my symptoms waxed and waned initially as well, before they decided to stay with me for good! again, this took a few months

shitmagnet Fri 07-Dec-12 10:01:07

I have RA, which did not show up in bloods for a good few months after symptoms onset. Make sure your GP did the anti-ccp test Feu. The tendons (not joints) in my fingers were the first things that were sore, and my joints have never been hot. It felt as though my fingers had been bent back and stretched. You may have to suck-it-and-see for a while, and take anti-inflammatories in the interim. Does neurofen help?

FeuDeSnowyRussie Fri 07-Dec-12 09:59:54

I googled enthesitis but can't really tell if it could be that,and it sounds like that's a condition with some other underlying cause like a type of arthritis. Never mind, thank you all for suggestions.

What about enthesitis?

FeuDeSnowyRussie Thu 06-Dec-12 20:47:02

You're probably right monsterchild, I only said tendinitis because it's the only tendon related problem I know!

purplerainbow Thu 06-Dec-12 20:14:20

Yes I questioned my gp that surely it had to be trauma and surely I wouldve noticed and she said that's not the case. Its very strange though.

monsterchild Thu 06-Dec-12 20:10:15

But wouldn't tendinitis would be caused by some sort of trauma? Isn't bilateral tendinitis pretty unusual? I think you'd remember injuring it. I know I do mine.

I get similar symptoms in the first joint of my second toe on one foot, but that is "encapsulitis osterarthritis caused by bony changes to the joint where the cleat from my grass shoes repeatedly impacted the joint.

purplerainbow Thu 06-Dec-12 20:02:34

Tendonitus that's it! That's what my gp says I have.

FeuDeSnowyRussie Thu 06-Dec-12 16:35:00

Just realised my whole middle finger tendon must be inflamed because it's sticking out all down the length of my palm. Some kind of tendonitis? Perhaps I'm causing it with something I'm doing.

FeuDeSnowyRussie Thu 06-Dec-12 10:40:06

Hmm, I'm not sure how similar our 'things' are then purple, mine does seem a bit like arthritis, which is why doc referred me for tests - it affects the same joints on both sides of my body, and this symmetrical effect is what tends to be seen with Rheumatoid Arthritis. But like I said, the tests did not show RA (though that could just mean it's very early stages, which wouldn't show up in the tests) and the joints don't feel warm. I guess I was just hoping for some other explanation because I don't want it to be RA, obviously! I will go back to the doc if it gets worse - right now it's only affecting one finger and not bothering me that much.

purplerainbow Wed 05-Dec-12 21:29:23

I didn't have 'tests' as such, my gp just ruled out arthritis for this problem. I tend to agree with her as I have arthritis in my little finger and have had that since I was quite young and this is very different to that. I can pin point where it hurts if is touched in anyway. Just touching the gear stick is agony when it 'flairs up'. Mine comes and goes and only seems to affect the middle finger joint. Just when it gets bad enough for me to ask to try the injections it just disappears!it is definitely worse in winter and have to make sure I always wear gloves. You should seek a second opinion if your not happy with your gps answers perhaps?

FeuDeSnowyRussie Wed 05-Dec-12 14:55:10

And did your GP have you tested for rheumatoid arthritis purple?

FeuDeSnowyRussie Wed 05-Dec-12 14:53:50

Not sure it's Dupuytren's OldLady as it comes and goes - sounds like Dupuytren's is progressive.

Does yours come and go purplerainbow? If it's only ever going to affect one or two fingers at a time and not progress to other parts of my body then I will be less concerned.

purplerainbow Wed 05-Dec-12 14:49:40

I have what sounds the same. Its inflammation....can't remember the name but my gp said the only thing other than taking anti inflammatory tablets is to have cortisone injections into the joint......

OldLadyKnowsNothing Wed 05-Dec-12 14:47:00
FeuDeSnowyRussie Wed 05-Dec-12 14:42:49

I can't straighten my middle finger, or make it touch my palm. It's a bit swollen, but not so much that it should be stopping it from bending properly. It doesn't hurt much, except to feel a bit bruised around the middle joint. This has now happened several times to both my middle fingers (they recover on their own after about a month) and to one of my ring fingers, and feels like it's starting in my little finger too. It just happens spontaneously, no accidents or trauma to the joints.

I went to the doctor last time it happened and was referred for arthritis tests, but they found nothing. And the fact that the joints don't feel warm or too painful suggests to me that it's not arthritis.

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