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Arthritis in finger joints - any point in seeing the GP?

(24 Posts)
TheProvincialLady Thu 23-Jun-11 14:48:35

I am 90% certain I have osteoathritis in my finger joints, especially one middle finger joint which is really bothering me at the moment. My mum has it and has done from a young age (late 30s) so I know what it looks like.

Is there any point in seeing the GP? There isn't a lot to be done if it is what I think it is, except wait to get really ugly handssad One joint is really swollen and well on the way already.

Any thoughts? And does anyone have any tips for relieving symptoms?

ppeatfruit Thu 23-Jun-11 16:44:58

IME glucosamine\chondroitin is helpful. As is looking at yr diet e.g. high acid foods like too many teas and coffees, tomatoes, potatoes and oranges are known to cause it for some people as is alcohol, smoking etc.

TheProvincialLady Thu 23-Jun-11 16:53:55

Oh I didn't know that about high acid foods. I eat loads of tomatoes every day. I'll look to cut down then, thanks.

tiger66 Thu 23-Jun-11 17:19:25

I would see the Gp to rule out Rheumatoid Arthritis.

TheProvincialLady Thu 23-Jun-11 17:52:12

You think it's worthwhile?

gingeroots Thu 23-Jun-11 18:18:18

Another vote for seeing GP - just discovered that my mums swollen knuckles are not down to arthritis /Hebedens nodes but gout .
Be especially aware if swelling has developed over short time scale ,eg few weeks .

nothruroad Thu 23-Jun-11 19:34:12

Definitely go to doctor. I have rheumatoid arthritis and it started in one finger. Early treatment is vital to avoid severe long term damage.

TheProvincialLady Thu 23-Jun-11 21:22:27

OK I will definitely go then. I am a bugger for self-diagnosis and also didn't want to waste the GP's time. Thanks for reassuring me I won't be.

TheProvincialLady Thu 23-Jun-11 21:23:18

Everything online says that RA is always in both sides of the body at once...which goes to show that you should never pay any blooming attention.

WowOoo Thu 23-Jun-11 21:28:01

I keep putting off going to the docs about my achey stiff fingers. Keep putting it down to getting older.
Think I'll make an appointment tomorrow.

When I last made an app the slight pain went away. It feels like it should look bruised but there is no bruising. It's harder for me to grip stuff too.
Does yours hurt or ache? How does it feel?
Good luck with docs. Let us know what they say.

shitmagnet Fri 24-Jun-11 06:28:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

trope Fri 24-Jun-11 09:01:49

Just to add there are other types of inflammatory arthritis other than RA and their presentation varies enormously as does their prognosis!

I have enteropathic arthritis, but at various times over the years doctors thought i had reactive arthritis or regular sero-negative arthritis. A friend was recently diagnosed with palindromic arthritis!

Mine started with a swollen finger too btw - first my little finger, then my middle finger on the opposite hand! As i do not have rheumatoid factor in my blood it took a long time for a GP to work out that it was still arthritis! Was very sick by the time i was diagnosed, but fortunately I was eventually assigned a fantastic rheumatologist who was very positive and focused on getting me healthy again!

I have had arthritis for around a decade now and with my current medication am in complete clinical remission; can play squash, run, jump - do whatever I want! That's despite being left unable to walk for months on end with past flare ups. So even if you do end up having some kind of inflammatory arthritis, don't assume the worst! There are lots of medications out there and not everyone has destructive arthritis (inflammation that leads to permanent damage in the joints) so with the right meds you could lead a pretty normal life! I have a few small lumps in my fingers from the first flare up but I'm the only person who notices them, they do not hurt and do not stop me doing much at all (had to give up playing the violin, but that's about it!)

So yes, another vote here for seeing the doctor! If they find any raised inflammation markers in your blood (your CRP and ESR is what they should be looking at) I would push hard to see a rheumatologist as in my experience most GPs have no earthly idea how to treat arthritis (and can't prescribe many of the best medications as you have to be in consultant care to have them) despite them telling you that they know what they are doing!!

Good luck!

ppeatfruit Fri 24-Jun-11 09:31:41

trope have you not looked at yr diet? As soon as I started having pains in my fingers (remembering my gran's terrible hooked fingers due to R.A.) i checked out eating for health and that's what i do and I have no pain and I'm not on any medication.1. i always eat fruit on an empty stomach. follow my blood type and don't mix protein and carbs. It damn well works for my mum who is 83 as well!! Provinciallady Thanks for being open minded smile.

SagaciousCloud Fri 24-Jun-11 10:25:25

Yes do go and see a GP. However if the GP tells you that it's just one of those things and you will just have to get used to it (as mine did), then get a second opinion.

The first GP I saw seemed to think that a 42 year old with excruciating painful hands who did a job that required typing for long periods of the day (I am a software developer) should, and I quote, "learn to live with it".

I didn't accept that and got a second opinion. 8 years on, I am on 2 different types of medication, hands are mostly pain free and, just as important for me, the arthritis has not really progressed, and I can still do my job!

TheProvincialLady Fri 24-Jun-11 16:41:27

I have made an appointment for Tuesday. I still can't quite rid myself of the idea that I will be wasting the GP's time but hey. Luckily I am one of those people whose symptoms start getting better as I am dialing the surgery.

This finger joint did suddenly flare up. I had had other joints (two of my knuckles last year and some of my joints nearest the nail) suddenly swell up and get very painful for a few weeks and then spontaneously recover. My finger is currently less painful to the touch and less red than a couple of days ago but still swollen and movement compared with the other side is very restricted and sore.

Trope I had never even heard of all those kinds of arthritis. I had only ever heard of OA and RA. It's good to hear that your condition is well managed and you are still very active. I appreciate you all giving me so much information, thanks so much.

Mandy2003 Fri 24-Jun-11 20:33:09

My Dad had one inflamed arthritic finger joint so bad he wanted to cut his own finger off. GP prescribed Ibuprofen and now after a couple of months he says it is 99% better.

TheProvincialLady Wed 29-Jun-11 10:30:48

In case anyone is still reading this - I saw the GP last night and he thinks I have RA[SAD] Going for tests tomorrow.

TheProvincialLady Wed 29-Jun-11 10:31:15

So thanks again for making me go.

trope Wed 29-Jun-11 10:49:54

Glad you went ProvincialLady - sorry it's looking like RA. Don't fear the worst though - there are fantastic meds out there that can really control the disease. If you do a search on the mumsnet boards you'll find lots of threads from people with arthritis, many containing positive stories & good advice!

TheProvincialLady Wed 29-Jun-11 11:06:16

Thankssmile My GP was quite negative about the drugs but he did say that a lot of people don't need them. I will have a search for advice and positive stories on MN (and stay well away from google!).

shitmagnet Wed 29-Jun-11 13:12:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheProvincialLady Wed 29-Jun-11 13:33:58

First step bloods, then x-ray, then referral depending on results. The GP did say that, SM, about early cases resolving themselves. I certainly hope it will, if indeed it is RA. It is seeming more likely though - I keep remembering other joints that have swollen and gone stiff, then got better virtually overnight. All finger and toes.

nothruroad Wed 29-Jun-11 18:29:08

This is exactly how my RA started when I was 19. My GP can be quite negative about the large amounts of medication I am on too. Fortunately I have a very understanding rheumatologist. I have gone from being bed bound to having almost a normal life in the past 3 years. I wish I'd pushed for treatment like anti-TNF earlier. Wishing you alll the very best, I hope everything works out for you.

TheProvincialLady Wed 29-Jun-11 20:39:55

Thanks nothruroad, me too. I'll be glad when the results are in. I'm so glad your health has improved so much.

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