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Anyone had rheumatoid nodules as a first symptom?

I was diagnosed with RA this summer but, about a year before joint problems surfaced I developed three small, hard lumps on the palm side of two fingers, near my fingertips - I hope that makes sense!. Strangely they are the fingers most used when using a computer mouse (and I'm almost tied to one for 7 hours a day). At the time they appeared my GP said they were ganglions (end of story) but more recently the RA Specialist Nurse says they're rheumatoid nodules. They do occasionally get a bit tender to touch and this last week or so I've got a crop of 4 tiny ones starting to appear. So, I was just wondering if they were a sign of RA a year before the real problems started. Has anyone out there had a similar experience?

5 Replies

Hi AnnuM - I have two little lumps on my leg at the front just before where the ankle starts, I found these this time last year but at that time I was being diagnosed with polymyalgia and put it down to that.

I was diagnosed with RA in August and taking mtx and steroids - I still have the lumps but they are not painful.

Grannyshiraz :-)


Rheumatoid nodules, or heberdens or bouchards nodes (depending on which joint they are on) aren't necessarily a sign of RA or inflammatory arthritis - they can be just any kind of "arthritis", including osteoarthritis. They are also frequently found on fingers that take extra stress and strain, so not surprising you have them on your "mouse" fingers,


I was diagnosed with RA at age 45 but have had lumps like hard rubber come up and go down on the palm side of my finger joints since my 20s, they are not noticeable to look at and only feel slightly tender when you press them. I'm not sure if they are connected to RA, I have no osteoarthritis in my hands though.


hi Ann:) like above you can get them at any point ,,it all depends on how much the joint is used. I had a large very noticeable nodule on my right hand palm above the index finger ,,it became very painful & i had to have a splint make to stop me using the finger for awhile because the finger was constantly sticking everytime i bent it. The first steroid injection did,nt work & within 2 weeks the finger became painful & stuck again. I was given a second injection but this time it was done using a ultrasound scan to make sure the injection was given to the damaged tendon. Its been 6 months & all is well:)


Thanks to all of you who gave a reply. More than being concerned about the 'lumps' although they are becoming unsightly - I guess I was just wondering if I've actually had RA for longer than diagnosed ie. am I in the less that two year cohort whose RA is more controlable? or the more than two year before diagnosis for whom the prognosis might not be as good? Impossible to predict in the end I know but I'm worried because I do have an elderly mother to look after and a mortgage so have to keep fit and well! Apart from me there's nobody else. Now I sound pathetic - sorry! Thanks again anyway. Best wishes to you all.


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