Doctor unhelpful

When my RA was diagnosed last year after an xray the doctor didn't seem to think there was anything to do other than try cream/gels to rub into the affected joints. Since then more than one finger has become painful and swollen, and possibly the same is the cause of the pain in the toes on my right foot. I'm dubious about going back as don't wish to be fobbed off again

13 Replies

  • Change to another go you in the practice! If they don't understand RA find one that does!

  • Seems ridiculous to give you cream for a potentially very serious autoimmune disease!! Find another decent Dr that knows what they are talking about and hopefully get some real medication that will hopefully sort you out. Don't be fobbed off, keep us updated and good luck!!👍👍

  • Hi

    Have you been to see a rheumatologist? Have you been started on treatment? If not and it were me, I would be insisting on a referral Asap. If the person who prescribed the cream is a rheumatologist, then ask to see a different rheumy straight away.

    I have found that GPS often don't know a lot about RA and its treatments. They know a little about lots of different things and can't be experts at everything.Their job is partly to recognise when to refer to a specialist.

    There are some very good effective treatments for RA these days but you need a rheumatologist to prescribe the best treatment for you.

    Good luck

  • I totally agree, you need to be referred to a Rheumatologist.

    Best Wishes

  • You say you have been diagnosed with RA, but who by? GPs normally refer to a specialist rheumatologist to confirm the diagnosis and then prescribe ongoing treatment. So I don't understand why your GP is treating (or not) with creams or gels.

  • It sounds like your doctor graduated at the bottom of his class. Please see another doctor as this disease will only get worse.

    I wish you well


  • Hi. You need to go back and demand to be referred to a rheumatologist asap. If you are in a practice with more than one doctor, ask to see a different one. If you see the same doctor and he/she is reluctant to refer you change your doctor immediately. It is imperative that you are seen by the right people and started on treatment straight away to prevent further damage. Be strong. Good luck.

  • All the above advice really! You should have been referred to a rheumatologist and seen within so many weeks (12?) to meet the NHS guidelines. Go back with someone with you whom you trust and ask for the referral to be made as a matter of urgency due to the delay you've already experienced. This can be done by seeing another Dr at your practice and does not have to be the original one (I'd kick him/her into touch and make formal complaint once I'd sevpcured and attended the rheumatoidology appointment). Also ring the NRAS helpline for further support/advice.

    All the best


  • Did the doctor specifically say rheumatoid arthritis, or inflammatory arthritis? My sister has arthritis that has badly affected the top joints of her fingers, which is an inflammatory osteo arthritis - but not rheumatoid arthritis. Sadly there's not much that can be done for it, so your doctor may not have been completely wrong. However, I agree with the others that you should go back and ask again especially if your feet are also now hurting.

  • Inflammatory arthritis can be treated in similar way to RA @helixhelix . Both are auto immune diseases. Definitely need to see a rheumatologist. I have swollen fingers too which are a feature of inflammatory / psoriatic arthritis. Successful treatment stops the disease progressing

  • Sorry, wasn't being completely clear as I missed out the key word! Yes of course, inflammatory arthritis is the general name for the whole group of auto-immune diseases - RA, PsA etc. However there is one specific inflammatory hand arthritis that is actually an inflammatory osteoarthritis, and generally only affects the top joints of the hands. My sister has seen many rheumatologists, and eventually one was persuaded to try her on hydroxy (which didn't do anything). However the general approach is the same as for osteoarthritis, ie not much apart from pain relief and anti-inflammatories.

  • It sounds much more as if the GP meant osteoarthritis if you have only been given pain relief.

    Please check what your diagnosis is and press for more adequate treatment.

  • Ask your Dr to put you in touch with a rheumatologist your dr is only a gp so wouldn't have much info on your needs X

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