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Can anyone suggest what might be causing these painful joints please (mainly hands and feet)

(31 Posts)
MrsGotobed Tue 02-May-17 21:24:11

Over the last 10-15 years I've had occasional achy joints in my fingers but recently, over the last year maybe, it's got more frequent.

For the last couple of months I've had lots of joint pain in my feet (big toe joint mainly which initially I put down to wearing some toe post Birkies but pain has remained) but most of all in my thumb joints. It's the base of the thumb and the pad on the palm by the base of the thumb). Various finger joints hurt too but not as bad as thumb.

It's getting difficult to pick things up sometimes, things like a kettle, heavy books often cause a sudden sharp pain.

Blood tests for inflammatory markers and thyroid etc showed no problems so GP said not likely to be rheumatoid arthritis. An Xray of my hands showed only minor wear and tear on one finger joint so not osteoarthritis.

What next? Obviously I will go back to GP but any ideas what it could be caused by?

Background info - I'm 50 and perimenopausal (with the usual tiredness, hot flushes etc). I have poor bone density (Osteopenia, so not as bad as osteoporosis) There is a history of rheumatism and arthritis in the family.

MrsGotobed Thu 04-May-17 18:14:45

Struggling to open a jar has just reminded me to bump this thread.

MyVisionsComeFromSoup Thu 04-May-17 18:27:52

I have very similar pain (plus more, shoulders, back, hip) and have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, as, like you, bloods were all normal.

MrsGotobed Thu 04-May-17 19:25:09

Sorry to hear that you've been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. That's one of those conditions that I've heard of but never really understood until quite recently when someone at work has been told that they possibly have it. I have to say though that his symptoms are a lot worse than mine - he was struggling to get dressed as he couldn't move his limbs easily in the morning.

What things were you tested for before they diagnosed you?

iamapixiebutnotaniceone Thu 04-May-17 19:27:25

I get these symptoms while pregnant. I was told it was due to an excess of a particular hormone but I forget which one.

TroubleInSnowland Thu 04-May-17 19:29:06

Have you had your vitamin D checked? Whenever my levels are low, I can tell because my fingers and toes start to hurt. I first discovered this after going to the GP when I shouted at my daughter for hurting me and all she'd done was hold my hand. The pain goes away if I take vitamin D regularly.

MrsGotobed Thu 04-May-17 20:20:03

I take Calcium and Vit D tablets due to the osteopenia so my levels should be OK I imagine.

MrsGotobed Thu 04-May-17 20:22:20

Oh, and there's no chance I'm pregnant at 50 with a DP who's had the snip Pixie grin ...although I suppose stranger things have happened!

Interesting theory on hormones though as due to being perimenopausal they are all over the place!

MyVisionsComeFromSoup Fri 05-May-17 07:49:48

my pain started in my neck and shoulder, then pins and needles down my left side, so the initial investigations were to rule out stroke and MS. Then we moved on to nerve impingement, low Vit D, low vit B12, basic thyroid, and finally the rheumatologist said no inflammatory arthritis (although she got sidetracked by DD having been diagnosed with hypermobility by a Big Name in rheumatology). So although blood tests were OK for that, i'm not totally convinced.

I'm the same in that I never really knew what fibromyalgia actually was, but it turns out it's a "you have some symptoms, we don't know what's causing them, we'll call it this --and you can go away and stop making appointments--" condition hmmsad.

Hope you get somewhere OP flowers

MyVisionsComeFromSoup Fri 05-May-17 07:50:18

strike out fail blush

newmumma2016 Fri 05-May-17 08:02:41

Sounds exactly like what my mum has! She was diagnosed (after a long, long time of doctors scratching chins!) with fibromyalgia.

UrsulaPandress Fri 05-May-17 08:04:32

Isn't it arthritis?

My joints hurt as they grow.

timeforabrewnow Fri 05-May-17 08:11:12

40 % of rheumatoid arthritis patients don't have rheumatoid factor in their bloods, and may not have inflammatory markers raised either.

It took 8 years before my rheumatoid arthritis was diagnosed, and the rheumatologist told me the above. I started off with swollen painful joints in hands and 1 shoulder. I would ask for a referral to a rheumatologist.

FubbyChucker Fri 05-May-17 08:13:12

With your family history, it does sound as though you are experiencing some sort of auto immune response. I tested negative for RA but within 6 months was in an acute onset of the condition. Only you know if your body is 'not right' & that you badger your Doc for regular blood tests for inflammatory markers - don't be fobbed off.

FubbyChucker Fri 05-May-17 08:14:42

X posted with you there brew

wonkylegs Fri 05-May-17 08:27:28

I would also push for a rheumatologist consult for RA as diagnosis is more complex than just whether or not you have inflammatory markers (many cases don't have them) but small joint bilateral pain is a early stage indicator. GPs often have to be pushed to refer though even with lots of indicators.

aliceinwanderland Fri 05-May-17 08:31:51

Agree with pps. Sounds like a type of inflammatory arthritis but sero- negative. Ie. Rheumatoid factor negative. Your rf factor can change over time. Suggest you ask to see a rheumatologist and/or ask for anti-ccp test which is more sensitive

MrsGotobed Fri 05-May-17 16:20:57

Thank you all.

I've just been catching up on this thread (whilst clock-watching for the last half hour at work -roll on home time!!)

I will certainly go back to the GP and ask for a referral to a rheumatologist. I'm pretty sure she mentioned that as a possibility at some stage.

ragged Fri 05-May-17 16:26:05

Are you on HRT?
I'm not a fan of HRT... I'll probably have to be dragged to it kicking & screaming. Still, there is much muttering online about HRT helping with non-specific aches & joint pain, though. Friend IRL mentioned it cured her chronically bad hip.

I'd put it on the list of things to consider.

MrsGotobed Fri 05-May-17 17:27:43

No I'm not on HRT due to a history of breast cancer in the family.

I've been prescribed fluoxetine for the night sweats/hot flushes which has the added bonus of levelling my mood out as I suspect the perimenopause was making me very up and down (I'm aware that some people don't advocate the use of antidepressants for hot flushes etc but I had to have something for them as they were just too much and HRT wasn't advisable)

ragged Fri 05-May-17 19:16:10

I wonder if one of those herbal mixes suggested for menopause could help with the joint aches. Could they do any harm?

Graphista Fri 05-May-17 19:30:42

I'm an ex nurse (worked in elderly care). Could be several things. The osteopenia could be aggravating the joints, it could be osteoarthritis rather than rheumatoid which tends not to show markers in blood tests. It could be ligament loosening as a result of hormonal changes similar to what happens in pregnancy. If you've always been accident prone, tendency to sprains and strains, digestive difficulty etc could be a very mild case of undiagnosed HMS (hypermobility). Also rarely you can get a sort of temporary arthritis from some infections most commonly glandular fever.

Keep talking to your Dr, keep a note of symptoms and what you think may aggravate them.

A referral to an orthopedic specialist would be a good idea.

BestIsWest Fri 05-May-17 20:16:37

What's the reason for the osteopenia? You are young to have it.

Have you had your calcium levels checked?

MrsGotobed Fri 05-May-17 20:53:43

The osteopenia was diagnosed as I had a broken ankle a few years ago after a relatively minor trip - a friend advised I ask for a DEXA scan which I did and, sure enough, it showed poor bone density.

I was never given a reason for it although there is a history of osteoporosis in the family so presuming it is hereditary, or at least that there's a predisposition to it?

BestIsWest Fri 05-May-17 21:41:47

Please go and get your calcium and parathyroid levels checked. Exactly like you I was diagnosed with osteopenia after breaking my ankle (actually broke two). I was 47.

I had very low vitamin D and high calcium in my blood.

I got diagnosed with primary hyper parathyroid which is where one of the parathyroid glands which regulate calcium goes a bit bonkers and draws calcium from the bones. The excess calcium ends up in the bloodstream, organs, muscles, joints etc hence painful joints are a symptom.

It's Nothing to do with the thyroid by the way.

You can find more here

Mine was cured by a simple op. Apparently it's much more common than doctors think.

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