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top part of finger twisting - rheumatoid arthritis?

(10 Posts)
MyVisionsComeFromSoup Fri 16-Dec-16 09:00:15

huge long list of symptoms, not getting very far with doctors, but I am currently waiting for an appointment with a rheumatologist (apparently, no appointments were available at the end of October, and none seem to have been released since), but, my hands are quite swollen across my knuckles, the fist joint of all my fingers is puffy, lots of other aching joints, few other things which makes me wonder if it's something inflammatory.

But, what is moderately concerning me, Dr Google isn't helping much, and I can't go back to the GP again with something I've been looking up online, is that both my first fingers are twisting inwards. They are straight up to the first joint, then from there up to the tip of the nail are rolling over towards the middle finger about maybe 30-40 degrees. I can't get a clear enough picture, but when you show someone in RL, it's quite obvious. They've always been a bit bent towards the middle finger, but always face up (same as my little fingers lean in towards the ring finger, but on a curve, not straight up and then twist like the first fingers are). There's maybe also a very slight twist to the middle fingers too, but that's not as obvious.

Does this sound like early stages of RA hands? If it is, I will brave the GP again, as there is an early arthritis clinic in my area that I could have my referral transferred to, and online advice seems to be, the earlier you can get RA treated, the less irreversible damage, but the GP is running out of patience with me asking if it could be this that or the other sad.

Any experience?

Mcullumswoman Fri 16-Dec-16 09:06:45

I have this on one of my hands but I have very advanced RA, I was diagnosed in 1999 after numerous tests didn't show anything else so essentialy its diagnosed by process of elimination.
The good news is they are making great strides with treatments and the earlier you get onto these medications the more effective they can be to treat further damage. See your gp as soon as you can.

Wex Fri 16-Dec-16 13:30:22

I have early stage RA and this is my main symptom. I also have osteo arthritis which affects my fingers.
You say you have already been referred to a Rheumatologist, I'm not sure there is much else your GP can do. If you don't even have an appointment 3 months after referral I would be chasing the hospital Rheumatology Department.

thisismyname2016 Fri 16-Dec-16 13:34:31

Hi, you should think about speaking to Arthritis Care's Helpline, they're very good. I don't have the number to hand but they're online.

MyVisionsComeFromSoup Fri 16-Dec-16 18:18:37

Thanks everyone, looks like I need to go back to the gp in the new year and chase up the appointment

whoputthecatout Fri 16-Dec-16 18:34:30

My first fingers are slightly twisted towards the next ones but I have osteoarthritis, not RA.

Wex Fri 16-Dec-16 18:50:32

Visions
I would ring GP to ask what date they sent the referral and where. Then ring the hospital and ask whether they have got it and when you'll be seen.
Rheumatology in my area are always behind but they are supposed to see new patients within 3 or 4 months I think.

ninjapants Fri 16-Dec-16 18:54:06

I have RA, your symptoms sound typical of it, but obviously you need to see a specialist. Appointments are hard to get so the delay is not unusual. I'd suggest going back to your GP and asking them to push the referral as urgent. Even though I see a consultant twice a year this is what they tell me to do if I have a long lasting flare up to speed things up.
In the meantime take anti-inflammatories and look after yourself. I hope you get a diagnosis and treatment soon flowers

crashdoll Fri 16-Dec-16 22:05:57

Have you had bloods; inflammatory markers and Rheumatoid factor? The GP can and should do these. Have they started you on any anti inflammatory medication for pain relief?

Generally, the top finger joint is not affected in RA, although it can be. It's more common in osteoarthritis. It's not really than common to see the classic RA joint damage as often as you did 10-20 years ago and certainly not in the pre-diagnosis stages.

A campaign for early recognition and diagnosis was released. I can't remember the exact wording but I think it's 3 Ss: swollen (are joints swollen, red and warm to the touch), stiffness (people with inflammatory arthritis have morning stiffness for more than 30 mins) and sore (are they painful when they are gently squeezed).

Unfortunately, rheumatology clinics are bursting at the seams, so I'm not sure there is much you can do. If you haven't had bloods, you need them. They may expedite your referral if your markers are very high.

Best of luck.

MyVisionsComeFromSoup Sat 17-Dec-16 14:30:01

the GP knew there was limited appointments at this particular clinic (outpatients at my surgery rather than at the hospital), but when I rang the Choose and Book phone line, they said there were no appointments, but that I would be contacted within 14 days; otherwise to go back to the GP. The 14 days were up over a month ago, but the GP secretary reckoned the only thing hte GP could do was take me off that list and put me onto the bottom of another one. So it's weighing up how long to wait on this list, as opposed to a different one.

Haven't had anything checked re arthritis - rheumatology is a "last chance, no-one else knows what's wrong" referral rather than a referral cos they think they know what's wrong ifswim - I've been discharged from neurology and by the orthopedic surgeon, and it's only since I've been reading up about inflammatory conditions that I've started wondering about RA.

Background - pain in left shoulder, then pins and needles in left arm, hand and leg, spread to left side of face, pain moved across to other shoulder and arm, as did pins and needles. Started losing grip and coordination in thumbs, pins and needles got worse, lack of coordination starting spreading across fingers, it's not that bad, but I can't for eg easily thread a needle, knit or crochet, or write neatly in the mornings. Pain originally started about 10 years ago, pins and needles about three or four years ago. But, I did have very painful bunions and feet from about age 20 till i had them done 5 years ago - and before surgery they looked just like some of the pictures I've seen online.

So, a set of symptoms which fit lots of different conditions, no-one can diagnose anything, and I'm left with handfuls of painkillers sad. Further complicated by the fact I also have balance issues which thinking back I've had for a few years, but they got a lot worse after I had labyrinthitis last winter, and I'm still waiting for the specialist clinic for that. That makes me massively tired and brain foggy, and I don't always think straight, or get my point across to the GP very well, so I need to be fairly sure what I'm asking for in my own head, before I go back.

Apologies for the length of this - I'm at the end of my tether with it all, I can't think straight and I hurt all the time sad. I do have the 3 S's I'd say (but I've put on loads of weight since the summer, so the puffiness could just be from that), and I've been taking naproxen for about 18 months. It's not the "normal" progression though, so I don't want the GP to be writing me off as an over-googler smile. Thanks if you got to the end of this, I'm trying not to dump on the family too much, so sadly MN gets it all.

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