Do I have RA or not?

Posted , 7 users are following.

Hi everybody,

I have a long story-noticed maybe in march of this year the middle knuckle on my right pinky finger was swollen & sore. Thought I must  have just injured it somehow and ignored it. It never really got better and then maybe in May/June I noticed the pinky on my left hand had the same swelling/pain!! Also, shoulder and hip pain plus stiffness, not just in the morning but whenever Ive been sitting for a period of time.  Went to see a Rheumy on Thursday and he said all my knuckles looked inflammed to him and also hips. Ordered many blood tests and xrays and started me on a 4 week decreasing dose of Prednisone. I'm seeing my test results online and everything is neg/normal!! Now I don't know what to think!! Is this RA or is it all in my head?! 

Thanks for any help!

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    I'm still learning about this disease. From what I've learned, you can have normal blood test and still have RA. Abnormal test's doesn't necessarily mean you have RA, weird huh?

    The best advice I can give is to read as much about RA as possible and keep a log of your symptoms daily.

    Is the Prednisone working?

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  • Posted

    Do you have psorasis on your skin, at about 50 give or take apparently we become a risk for psorasis arthirits.

    Mine started with swelling of my first knuckle on my right hand, eventually it advanced to other hand, wrists shoulders, GP kept telling me post viral syndrome, which it could have been but wasn't.

    Rheumo eventually diagnosed me from swollen hands, like wearing boxing gloves, and just about as useful to do anything, incl holding spoon, hopeless for pens.

    I show negative for RA in tests, apparently not that unusual, but I do have high ESR and CRP, these are both inflammation markers in your blood.

    Many drugs later, sometimes feels like a chemists shop, some allergic reaction, as in itching and blotches, another good newer drug which rheumo said was going to work wonders nearly did me in with extreme blood pressure, arthritis settled wonderfully, so a little annoying, had to come off it immediately.

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  • Posted

    I've only started the prednisone yesterday so its hard to say if its having any effect! No psoriasis, so I don't think its that. I was just going to ignore it and hoped it would go away but lately the fatigue has been bad and I just don't feel like myself! I used to walk 3.5 miles 3 or 4 days a week, but now when I get home from work I'm exhausted and just want to sit!! But then of course my hips start  hurting and I have to keep moving around. Its very annoying! 

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  • Posted

    There's a possibility that you do have RA.

    When I made my 1st appt w/GP to try and get a diagnosis, I researched RA and Fibromialgia. GP said Fibro but referred me to a Rheumatologist. I took everything I could to that appt. Past MRI's, X-rays and printed all info from patient portal's. Diagnosis, RA.

    I suffered for years in silence until I got tired of the pain and fatigue. Now waiting for a referral to a 2nd rheumatologist. The other was too costly and inconveniently located.

    Tired of the pain again.

    My hips hurt making it hard to sleep. GP has given Tramadol for pain, it gets me through the night. Tramadol wasn't listed as a narcotic in the US until the last few years. I take it very easy on anything listed as a narcotic.

    I take it easy on all the drugs really. Prednisone does seem to help me. Pain in hips is very minimal now, shoes fit looser and inflammation in hands are less. Still have the pain in hands, feet and knee's but what are you gonna do.

    Sorry for rambling on, it just feels like someone is listening on this forum.

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  • Posted


      You said many blood tests so you probably had sed rate and CRP which would signify inflammation but don't pinpoint the disease.   

      I have had major fatigue/ exhaustion for quite awhile along with a great deal of stiffness esp in the morning.  I attributed it to osteoarth or maybe goes with my Crohns bowel disease.  But then my one finger became  swollen/ painful , months later the same finger on the opposite hand.  Majority of blood tests negative but xrays showed erosions of both hands which was confirmed on MRI.   So your symptoms do sound suspicious for inflammatory arthritis.  

      Wishing you the best,  the intial diagnosis and research on the disease can seem very overwhelming but try and stay postive,  read the posts.  I am learning more and more.   Medications will be trial and error til they find what works for you

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  • Posted

    One way to tell the difference between RA & Osteo

    Is with RA you have swelling and stiffness in the morning which can ease slightly as the day goes on

    OA stiffness occurs after exercise and resting .

    Ice packs can help bring the swelling down and ease the soreness in the hands.

    Could be you have OA though worth asking

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  • Posted

    day 4 of prednisone and I'm starting to feel like my old self again!! Almost no morning stiffness and I have plenty of energy!! Hands still a little swollen but I could actually floss my teeth this morning, usually I can't hold the floss to do the back teeth!!! I prednisone helps does that mean its RA?! Still confused about how this disease is diagnosed!!

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  • Posted

    Hi catmarky

    RA does not necessarily show up in blood tests they look at ESR


    It is possible you have RA &OA Which is a possibility.

    I never take steroids orally I usually have steroid injections during a flare up

    Research the Internet arm yourself with information before you next see the Doc as there are similar symptoms for different diseases

    I was diagnosed 14 years ago and inject methotrexate weekly but still have flares, which then gives them chance to try one of their biological Medstead but they have some devastating side effects

    Remember information is power

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  • Posted

    Are you still feeling better?
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  • Posted

    yes!! been on prednisone for a week and I feel great!! Today I start to taper, so afraid when they're gone I'll be feeling bad again, and since all my tests are normal, not sure what the doc is gonna say!!!

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    • Posted

      how were your xrays?  All my blood tests were basically normal--slight elevation in CRP . Diagnosis was based on my c/o severe fatigue/  and xray and MRI of my hands at the time    My 3rd finger had some edema but not that noticeable to the MD.   MRI showed erosions in both hands so that was how he diagnosed inflamm arthritis.  

      Good luck with your appt 

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