27yr old arthritis questions

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I'm 27 Recently started a new full time job about 5 weeks ago. Long story short, I was told by my doctor I have osteoarthritis in both wrists under my thumbs, in the thumb joints and in the knuckle of my index fingers.

The doctor put me on 15g of Meloxicam which I have be having full time for the last two weeks, it helps but the pain is still there and sharp pains come and go. He said to use it sparingly. Also using deep heat as well.

My new job is in a factory, I'm a plant operator, where I use my hands all day. I worked out that I at least have to pinch and hold small things roughly about 4800 times each hand to assemble, crimp and pack in a shift.

My questions are can I manage this and keep going? Or am I a being ignorant and should find alternate work very soon?

The doctor said he can't do anything for me this true? Does it have to get worse before surgery? Like what are my options?

Any information would be appreciated thanks.

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  • Posted

    I'm sure that if your arthritis could be fixed with surgery he would have told you. It is a shame that you already have osteoarthritis in your hands at such a young age. Have you always worked with your hands? That might help contribute to the problem but frankly I would want to dig deeper and find out why you're dealing with osteoarthritis in your hands at 27 years old. You might consider going to see a rheumatologist to get a confirmation of that diagnosis and to see if he or she might have something else to offer.

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    • Posted

      Yeah it was strange my GP just said there was nothing he could do for me. I was an electrician for 8 years before this, he said that would have contributed to it.

      I've considered asking for a referral to a specialist. But I don't have private health insurance, so it would be expensive to tell me the same thing. But at least I would know I guess.

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  • Posted

    Did your doctor do any tests or X-rays? It could be repetitive injury . Also whatever you should keep your eyes open for a job not using your hands. I'm 75 and just had surgery on one thumb the other will be done when recovered. Previous to this I usedsplints for carpal tunnel which helped a lot and deep Freeze. Can't use anti inflammatory tabs. Avoid them as long as poss as long term they can damage stomach.

    A lot of docs almost think it's wrong to have oa young. Ideas are changing though. No longer seen just old age. Also when not working wiggle your fingers. Exercise in a way different from work. Strengthening will help. Hot and or cold is good.

    I'm in uk but have still gone privately as when old you are not as important! That's how it seems. Keep your hands warm too. I find the weather can affect them. Dry hot heat is best. Generally I've found tiger balm very good for other aches and pains. I wish you luck

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    • Posted

      Yep I got x-rays on both hands and multiple blood tests they took 5 viles of blood. I think I'm going to have to look for alternative work, that is less hands on.

      What is deep freeze?? Currently using the anti inflammation tabs, I think they are slowly working but it still has some really sharp pain every now and again.

      I had a shoulder reconstruction last year as well, haven't even thought about going to the gym until my hands calm down a bit more.

      Thanks for your help I'll check out the things you have mentioned.

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  • Posted

    I just remembered that I was complaining about finger and hand pain the other day and someone sent me a hyperlink to some finger ice packs you can buy on Amazon. I couldn't believe it but it's these small round bands with the blue stuff in it that you put in the freezer and gets cold and then you can fit them on your finger like a wide ring. I don't believe they were very much money either. You might look into getting some of those to wear after work.0

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  • Posted

    I got diagnosed with tenosynovitis in both thumbs when I was in my early 30's.  Like you I did a job that involved repetitive hand movements - mine was in a bank and as a manager I was required to count money, use keyboards and hold a pen for long periods.  I was in terrible pain, couldn't even open coded doors due to it.  I was at the time really scared I'd have to leave on the grounds of incapacity.  My doctor said it was suitable for surgery either but did tell me that it would be 'self determining', ie it would flare up but would also ease off if I was able to stop doing hand movements that aggravated it.  He was right.  I am 62 now and have OA in both thumb joints but I can keep it at bay if I 'listen' to it - ie if I feel it twinging and I know I'm over exerting the hands and thumbs, I ease off and rest them before it gets too painful.  I researched a million and one things that might help - best for me were firstly fresh ginger - I grate it, mix it with hand cream and rub it in the joints.  Also voltarol gel - works better for me than taking diclofenac as a tablet.  Some people also find relief from glucosamine/chondroitin (didn't work for me but others say its helped), ibuprofen obviously, curcumin (active ingredient in turmeric), bromelain (an enzyme from pineapples said to be good for inflammatory pain), ice packs - love the idea which amkoffee suggested of specific finger packs, and using hand/wrist splints when not having to use your hands for work - they really do help because they stop you from moving the joints in a way that would aggravate the inflammation.  Hope you find something to help soon.  Don't ignore your doctor's advice about surgery until you've tried anything else to help first.

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  • Posted

    Add to the good suggestions others have made: learn some exercises which will help counteract the repetitive strain you may be placing on your muscles and joints.  There are some yoga techniques, including something called The Flower where you open and close your hand quite quickly, sort of resisting as you do, about fifteen times, whenever you think of it and your hands are stiffening up (several times a day).  You can also massage the joints of your fingers with a rotating motion, this somehow seems to help the synovial fluid do its job of lubricating the joints.  You could also consult a physiotherapist for more ideas.
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  • Posted

    Thanks for all you valuable information guys. I'm going to give all these ideas a go, but I think my days in this new job are numbered. If only I knew before hand lol.

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  • Posted

    So bit of an up date.

    The pain got worse and was taking Meloxicam like candy. Ended up going to a hand physio therapist, she referred me to a specialist.

    The specialist told me that both my thumbs were stuffed and had sustained an injury or I was born with it and I might have to get thumbs reconstructions via fusion or a fake ligament put in. But since I have no pain in my actual thumb we could leave it.

    But when i grab things repetitively because of my thumbs it puts pressure on my wrist. Specifically the stt joint possibly thus causing it to rub and cause arthritis.

    I've had a cat scan done and a steroid injection into one hand in the stt joint to see if it helps. If it does I guess I'm looking at a fusion. Has any one had this done? Concidering my age I'm rather worried about getting something like this done is it common and would I loose Strength and range of motion?

    My work has also found out and won't let me work. Haven't worked in a week but, my hands have calmed down and I'm off the Meloxicam. But this means the steroid injection was all for nothing.

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