Will they be able to get to the bottom of my pain?

I'm wondering if anyone else has similar experiences, as I haven't received a diagnosis yet. On 13th September this year, I very suddenly developed moderately severe pain in both of my hands in the MCPJ area. This progressed over a week to the point where I was having to treat patients (I'm a podiatrist) with wrist braces on, and came to the conclusion that I needed to seek help and that it would not be safe for me to continue to work. I cannot type, write, hold a book etc. for longer than 10-20 mins without pain, which is now in all of my hand joints including my wrists, and is sometimes present in my elbows and ankles. Blood tests showed nothing significant except a C-reactive protein of 16, and I'm currently awaiting a visit to the rheumatologist. The pain is best described as a severe, dull ache, which is constant, but made worse by repetitive/prolonged actions and cold weather. At times, it feels like a small rodent is gnawing on my bones, and I've lost a lot of intrinsic muscle bulk. Any ideas as to whether this is a rheumatoid condition?

5 Replies

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  • Hi

    I'm sorry you're not feeling well.

    It could be, the slightly raised CRP shows you have a bit of inflamation going on somewhere. As it seemed to come on so quickly it sounds more like reactive arthritis. Have you been ill recently? Infection? Virus? etc... Any major stresses??

    Sorry i can't help more.

    Ella

  • Hi there. The problem with this disease and related ones is that diagnosis isn't necessarily straightforward, so it does need trained specialist to get to the bottom of it. But great if you're already in the queue for an appointment with a rheumatologist as that's the best step. You're supposed to be seen within 6 weeks but it's taken a lot longer for a lot of people on here, so fingers crossed. In the meantime try to find a mix of painkillers that works for you, and maybe even speak to your GP about presription strength ones or a short course of steroids. Polly

  • Sorry but until you see a specialist there's not really much you can do other than a combination of painkillers (Codine phosphate and paracetamol) are a good combination.

    Also try gentle exercise and soaking your hands in either hot or cold water for pain relief. I used to soak my hands in cold water the ease the heat, pain and stiffness. Some people prefer heat rather than cold so it's trial and error finding which works for you.

    Good luck and stay strong.

    Beth xx

  • Hi SootyB

    As the others have said, diagnosis of RA can be complicated but early referral to a rheumatologist is the first step. You may find it useful to have a read of our article, 'Making a diagnosis of RA' which will hopefully help to explain things a little more:

    nras.org.uk/about_rheumatoi...

    Kind regards

    Sarah Kate

    NRAS Helpline

  • Hi all,

    Many thanks for your replies - sorry it's taken a while to acknowledge them, but my boyfriend was in hospital last week, so I had to put myself on hold!

    I'm considering myself one of the lucky ones, as my 1st rheumatology appointment is on Wednesday (provided the proposed NHS strike doesn't render the clinic devoid of nursing staff!), so I've been dealt with very swiftly.

    Hope you are all coping with this cold weather ok - the colder my extremities are, the more pain I seem to have!

    Sara xx

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