Is there a link between nerve pain and RA?

I've been having some unusual symptoms which have escalated over the last 6-9 months. I have numbness and tingling pain in my feet and sometimes in my hands. It's different to my 'normal' pain. I saw a neurologist - over a year ago - who was a horrible man and did some tests which showed my left foot has less sensation but never explained why. Needless to say, due to his rudeness, I did not wish to return. Since then, it has been suggested that my feet problems are chronic nerve pain. Is there a link between nerve pain and RA? Are there any tests to confirm nerve pain? I feel a bit lost and extra miserable due to the funny sensations shooting up my legs.

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7 Replies

  • It can be related to meds. If you are on antitnfs, definitely report it to your rheumatologist as they would need to rule out drug induced MS (its very rare though, so its not that likely, but does need to be ruled out). Could also be to do with nerves being trapped, or inflammation pressing on nerves. Another thing that needs to be ruled out would be diabetes as that can cause peripheral nerve stuff.

    Short answer - report it to your doctor.

  • It has been worse since I started anti TNFs but I am now off one and waiting for another and no change in those symptoms.

  • Because of these symptoms plus neck pain, I had an MRI which revealed degeneration in my neck. Now referred to neurologist to check if nerves and being compressed. Have you spoken to your rheumatologist?

  • My first RA flare which led to my diagnosis included pain in my feet that was like walking on shards of glass. I believe the sensation was some kind of nerve problem. It certainly wasn't joint pain, but it responded to the steroids I was given and my current regimen is keeping it in check. I feel it occasionally, but nothing like that first flare.

  • I have pins & needles in my feet like wearing a tight pair of socks and some numbness on the right. It is either due to the disc lesions in my back, to the medication that I take for the RA, or to the RA itself - take your pick as to the actual cause, and there is nothing that can be done about any of them! The rheumy referred me to the neurologist, and my GP to the back specialist - the latter was the most sensible and said the above and to examine my feet daily to make sure the skin is not damaged in any way. It is also possible to get this with diabetes (and some other things), but I don't have diabetes.

  • Hello

    Yes both are related,if there is narrowing, or trapping of a nerve caused by inflamed joints. Sometimes the tendon can also cause problems in its own right, this will cause the tendon to not run smoothly.

    In the spine the nerves can again become trapped, in your case it seems that the sciatic nerve is rubbing against a swollen joint in the hip (Sciatic Knot) and this will rub against the Sciatic Nerve that goes between the hip and leg.This nuro pain will cause pins and needles, numbness that will transmit down the outside of the thigh towards the knee.

    Nuro pain needs a different medication that suppresses these referred pains, generally Amytryptalene can be used.

    Generally you will need your GP to have a look at you and he will prescribe his personal choice of medication. You could also use a TENS as a nerve block. sometimes people find this a great help.

    Other joints in Hands and wrists can also be a problem generally fingers where we seem to get pins and needles

    , if the fingers have nodules or swollen small joints you could also develop trigger finger, this is a jerking clicking movement that feels like operating the trigger o a gun.

    Generally the hospital will be taking bloods and urine to check further problems that may arise


  • Thank you for the helpful replies. I am being referred to an orthopaedic doc who specialises in spines. I have had severe pain in my hip/leg that appears to be referred pain and apparently this may be connected. Sometimes this is never ending!

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