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With RA, can one Side worse than the other?

I saw my GP again and have now got the letter from my Consultant Rheumatologist - My GP chased it up and also the results of the Nuclear Bone Scan. The bone scan said in a nut shell that I have relatively symetrical inflamation in my ankles, knees, hips, wrists and hands constistant with mild inflammatory arthropathic process... Which is why he (consultant who looked at the bone scan, not rheumy) said early RA.

So still not sure why Rheumy not treating me (?)... Anyway, it also said that my Osteoblastic activity seen in relation to the smal joints of the hands is slightly asymmetric - greater on the left than the right and asks if I'm left handed which I'm not.

My left hand does seem to hurt slightly more than my right does, so I wondered if anyone else has one side worse than the other and is it your dominant side or not???

Thank you.

8 Replies


Well now you seem to have some answers that you were looking for, hopefully the rhumi will give you some treatments

up to now you did not know what was going on with your joints, now you do. and you will need to consider what you want to do with your condition, One thing may need to be taken into consideration, depending on age you and GP will need to decide if medications are needed at this time, as the contraindications can outweigh the benefits of taking them. He may well consider their use on a need to treat basis as with pain medications.

The use of a TENS or a PAIN PEN may be a good idea, and possibly swimming, that will keep the joints supple and will assist in keeping the body mobile and toned. Again this is only hypothetical and that will depend on his ideas and diagnosis. If the prognosis at this time allow this could effect His way of treating you, some manipulation may help.

Please do not get me wrong, you do have changes and they may be dependant on age, you may depend on medications later on with your condition.

When I go to the GP or Specialist, they always explain and discuss what stage you are at. With me I had to decide when and how to take these medications, as I have taken them now for thirty years and their use can cause serious problems, RA is an immune system problem and some of later treatments will suppress your immune system as when they start giving them they will go through the list to get one that suits. It is just I am laying the facts down to you.

Talk to your GP and Specialist, they will keep you right, I am not a Doctor so it is them to listen to

Good luck

All the very best



My left hand is definitely worse than my right. Although I am right handed, my left hand swells more and seems to be more inflammed. My right hand does hurt and get swollen but it always seems to be the left that suffers more. Same for my feet also. And my left hip!

My shoulders, knees and elbows are symetrical though. Odd?

I do wish you all the best of luck. xx


I am left handed, and it does swell and have more pain than the right hand. Usually my right wrist is worsw than the left, and my left ankle is worse than tje right ...quite an awkward so and so, aren't I, lol


Yes I am right handed and my right wrist, fingers, etc is always a lot worse than my left side. However, my left foot is much worse than my right odd!! I guess a bit like you lab-lover!! ;)

As Bob has mentioned I used to swim regularly (haven't done for a while now), and when I did it gave me a lot of relief. Also used to used a TENS machine which used to help but not for very long. I guess it depends on the individual.

Good luck with whatever treatment road you go down.



Hi, I have Sero positive RA diagnosed in March this year, I typically have it symmetrical but more pain/swelling and locking in my left side (hands, wrists & elbow ) but I am right handed. Not sure why but with me that's how it started and progressed x


Thank you all for your replies.

I sometimes joke that my right foot and ankle is worse than my left, but my left knee is worse than my right so I have trouble deciding which side to limp on when all is playing up! 

Bob, I am a 42 year old wife and mother of 5 children.

My only experience with tens was when in labour with one of my children and it did nothing but irritate the pain at the time!!!!

I have my next appointment in February and will see what he says then. He still says it is not in his opinion RA. (even though my gp says she's not sure why as to her it's glaringly obvious! )

Thanks again for your replies,

It would seem that although symmetrical, it can be dominant on one side!


I am 28 and early stage RA, my right knee and right hand hurt worse especially during flare ups. It appears stress induces the most pain, so I think I’ll become a monk and live in the forest and avoid stress forever. ( just kidding) I am right dominant and I am on Plaquinil (sp?) Heat therapy seems to help somewhat, and the chiropractor as well. Hang in there.


I’m pretty symmetrical with my RA but my right wrist is a problem while my left is fine. I’m due a steroid injection (again!) next week.


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