Tuesday, September 15, 2009 Midwest Modification, Community Member, asks

Q: Pain inthumb and wrist joints snarling and disfigurement of the feet? My RA says it is OA?

After yet another visit to my Rheumy, he says the  pain and disfigurement in my thumbs and feet are because of Osteoarthritis.The pain is severe at times. He says to see a foot Dr. about surgery.I don't understand why he seems to dismiss the pain and snarling joints like it is not RA so it is not associated with him. He doesn't ignore me, but he says "that is the OA not RA" This time I said "and what do I do about it?" He said to see a foot Dr. about feet  (and I would imagine an Orthopedic about my hands). Could someone please explain this to me? I always thought the "snarling and disfigurement" would be associated with RA. Has anyone had similar problems. Thanks.

Answer This
Answers (1)
Allison, Community Member
9/15/09 3:49pm

There's no sugar-coating this: your rheumatologist sounds like a terrible doctor. This doctor cannot even consider that your very classic RA symptoms are just that? You might think about going to somebody else. My guess is that your rheumatologist is an older person. Many older doctors typically don't know cutting edge medicines or treatments and tend to have terrible listening skills.

Disfigurement of your thumbs (when the thumb joints look sharp and angular) is pretty common with RA. If your RA medications are correct, you should not continue to have disfigurement or severe pain. Feet pain and swollen tender fingers are absolute torture; however, wrist pain falls into its own terrible category. An orthopedic doctor or your rheumatologist can inject cortisone directly into your wrist joints. The cortisone shots can help a great deal if your RA meds are correct.      

Reply
Midwest Modification, Community Member
9/15/09 9:52pm

Thank You Allison, but my rheumatologist is a young guy in his early 30's. I know cortisone shots help a great deal, however my insurance does not pay and they can get very costly.  But I am so glad to hear that you think it is the RA as well. I am taking quite an agressive number of drugs to try to combat the disfigurement so I am rather perplexed as to this latest comment. Might I add that I am a single person and I am a hairdresser. Unfortunately we have no benefits, but I NEED my hands. I had thought up until recently my RA meds were working for me just wonderfully. Thanks again for your imput I really appreciate it! Oh yes, my RA Dr. says that the angularness of my wrist and base of my thumb is from bone spurs......? Has anyone else ever heard of this?

Reply
Allison, Community Member
9/16/09 12:40pm

My doctor is also a young guy in his 30's and he's fabulous. I absolutely trust him and he never pooh-poohs anything I'm saying.

It might be worth it to go ahead and pay for the cortisone shots. I got to a point where my wrists were so deformed and painful that I couldn't think straight. (I was working in a law firm as a legal assistant with a lot of typing.) One shot per wrist has lasted more than 5 years for me. The nodules disappeared and my wrists look fairly normal. Another med that seemed to help me with wrist pain is Azathioprine (name brand Imuran). Have you tried that one?

Reply
Midwest Modification, Community Member
9/17/09 12:43am

WOW...5 years from one shot of cortisone?  I have had many cortisone shots, but I am sorry to say I have only gotten relief for less than a year. I have had each finger, knees, shoulders, hips, nearly each toe joint injected....and have had great relief at the moment. It just never lasts long enough. EACH  injection is around $400.00 , too much to have to pay yearly. Each...times the various locations. I bearly get done paying for one year and I need another. I recall hearing of Imuran, however I don't remember whether I took it or not.(more than likely not). I don't remember if I included all of my meds in a previous email...but I take a lot of them.  I always say "I want to wipe my own behind for as long as I can"...LOL

I really appreciate your thoughts and ideas Allison. It is very nice to hear from a person with similar experiences . I value your opinion. Thanks!

Reply
Allison, Community Member
9/17/09 2:49pm

You made me laugh. I can remember thinking something along those same lines.

One shot of cortisone per wrist PLUS $30,000 worth of medicine each year. It's a miracle how that all works together.

Take care!

Reply
Answer This

Important:
We hope you find this general health information helpful. Please note however, that this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. No information in the Answers above is intended to diagnose or treat any condition. The views expressed in the Answers above belong to the individuals who posted them and do not necessarily reflect the views of Remedy Health Media. Remedy Health Media does not review or edit content posted by our community members, but reserves the right to remove any material it deems inappropriate.

By Midwest Modification, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/24/10, First Published: 09/15/09