arthritic and deformed hands

By Anonymous Latest Activity June 1, 2010 at 11:17 pm Views 11,920 Replies 6 Likes 3


Ive been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis of the hands. I suffer from stiffness in the morning when I arise and sometimes swelling and pain in the finger joints. My hands are becoming deformed and I'd likr to know if there is any surgury that would help. The rheumatologist just wants me to take anti inflamatory and pain drugs which I don't want to do, He says there is no way to stop the deformaties.

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Replies (6 replies)

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  • morningsunshine
    morningsunshine July 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm   

    Thanks! Helpful!

  • Jeanette Terry
    Jeanette Terry June 22, 2011 at 12:17 pm   

    Here is a video that has some tips for hand massages to help releive arthritic hands.

  • Baileypam
    Baileypam August 31, 2010 at 8:48 am   

    I have this in my hands and big toes also. I had someone tell me about product called Jule of the Orient. I started taking it an within a week I felt relieve. I would try this stuff. A little pricey but well worth it.

  • terryga
    terryga August 27, 2010 at 9:24 pm   

    I haven't been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis but, from the sound of the symptoms, I think I have it. I never even considered seeing a rheumatologist, but I am now considering it. The arthritis is in my big toe. I have seen a podiatrist and a orthopedic doc and he gave me a cortisone shot that helped temporarily but was very painful. I also had bunion surgery on that toe/foot.

  • Lana
    Lana June 2, 2010 at 9:00 am   
    Edited June 2, 2010 at 9:01 am by Lana

    First, let me tell you that one of the first things that people who are diagnosed don’t know is the extent of their condition. I am rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Fibromyalgia (FM) patient who spend nearly ten years looking for a diagnosis. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs should not be your only options. RA is an autoimmune disease and not simply a joint disease. In other words, it is a not a wear and tear of the joints condition, it is disease where your immune system is responding improperly. Here is a WebMd link telling about how RA is an autoimmune disease.

    Without knowing your history, age, and other pertinent information, I can’t give you an idea on whether joint replacement surgery is or could be a suggestion for you. What I can tell you is that you HAVE to be your own advocate and advocate for yourself. If you feel that your medical providers are not doing enough to help you, then you need to seek additional support. RA is not a condition to be taken lightly and the longer you want to figure out your options, the worst the disease will get and it will progress eventually leading to joint destruction and deformity.

    Let me go back to my statement about patients understanding their diagnosis. Now, I am not faulting you here because it appears to me that your medical providers have not explained to you clearly what RA is and that, through medication, lifestyle and diet changes, and a variety of therapies, you can control and stop the progression of the disease.

    The first thing I suggest that you do is get second opinion. Make an appointment with another rheumatologist. Here is the American College of Rheumatology’s Provider search page. Check with your insurance company about any requirements they may have.

    Second, keep a journal of your symptoms. Do this every evening and as you get symptoms throughout the day and after a week or two, you will find what aggravates your body and what causes these symptoms. Continue to keep track so that you can discuss your symptoms and concerns to your provider at your next visit.

    Third, get online and start researching treatment options, lifestyle changes and additional therapies such as exercise and physical/occupational therapies. Here is a link to start.

    RA is treated two classes of medications: “fast-acting "first-line drugs" and slow-acting "second-line drugs" (also referred to as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or DMARDs). The first-line drugs, such as aspirin and cortisone (corticosteroids), are used to reduce pain and inflammation. The slow-acting second-line drugs, such as gold, methotrexate, and hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), promote disease remission and prevent progressive joint destruction, but they are not anti-inflammatory agents.” Source:

    Here are some things to consider:

    • RA is a lifelong condition and there is no cure but there are a variety of treatment options, including medications, physical therapy, exercise, education, and possibly surgery. Early, aggressive treatment for RA can delay and halt joint destruction.
    • You have to see your rheumatologist on a regular basis therefore you should find someone you are able to communicate with openly and that you feel comfortable with.
    • RA differs from person to person. Those who have a rheumatoid factor, CCP antibody, or subcutaneous nodules seem to have a more severe form of the disease. Those who develop RA at younger ages also seem to get worse more quickly.
    • Also know that many persons with RA work fulltime jobs. Moreover, only 10% of them are severely disabled in a few years time and unable to do simple daily living tasks (washing, dressing, and eating).
    • In the past, RA life expectancy was shortened by about 3 to 7 years. Those with severe RA could die 10-15 years earlier than expected. However, as treatment has improved, severe disability and life-threatening complications have decreased considerably and many people live relatively normal lives.

    I am passing along this information to you so that you understand that this disease is not a death sentence. When I was first diagnosed, I felt like it was. I thought that my life was over that I could no longer be a good mother, work and provide for my family and that my life (at age 32) was over. Yes, there is no known cure for RA but it is often possible to prevent further damage of joints through early and proper treatment. It is also possible to have a “normal” life. A new diagnosis, any new diagnosis, involves a grieving process. This can takes weeks or many months but once you know where you stand and what you want to do, then you can set out to achieve your goals, and in this case, it is to keep your RA from getting worse.

    Some things you can do keep your disease from getting worse include:
    • Educating yourself.
    • Advocating for yourself.
    • If you smoke, stop smoking.
    • Because RA may cause eye complications, patients should be have regular eye exams.
    • Take your medications, visit your doctor regularly and continue to live your life.

    A joint procedure is too early to consider but you should be on RA medications that work to slow the progression of the disease. I also have the same problem with the swelling and stiffness of my fingers in the morning. Sometimes, I have to pry my hands apart. I am doing everything that I can to slow the progression of the disease and I no longer believe that RA is not a death sentence. If anything, it brings a lot of challenge to my life.

    Good luck to you. I hope that everything works out for you. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about the site or otherwise.

  • Snowbirdz
    Snowbirdz June 5, 2010 at 3:06 am   

    Lana, this is GREAT advise. Although I don't agree that medication is totally necessary I do agree with everything else you say. This disease MUST be treated, and respected. A person diagnosed with RA needs to understand that it's not a joint problem, it is an immune challenge and to lessen the pain in the joints the answer is fix the immune system.

    One thing I have to comment on, I had a most aggressive start with RA, so bad that my physicians didn't believe I would ever find remission, HOWEVER I did not test positive with the RA factor in the beginning. I do now but I haven't suffered the pain and suffering you would associate with RA for the last 8 years. Perhaps, and I'm only guessing, some people catch it earlier on in the disease that that's why the negative RA factor in the beginning…I don't know, but perhaps.

    RA certainly isn't a death sentence, nor does it have to mean an end to the life you knew before RA. There are so many things one can do to improve thier health.

    Learn about health, even if you don't practice everything you learn, at least you'll have a good idea of the many "error's in judgement" we make each day when it comes to our health.

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