Early onset rheumatoid arthritis?

Posted , 6 users are following.

Wondering if any of you lovely readers could drop a few knowledge bombs on my situation.  

A little background: I’m 31, female, incredibly active and healthy in all other regards. I have cracked my finger knuckles since the 5th grade or so (even though my mother hated it and would tell me to “knock it off” every time she heard a pop!) Every morning, I wake up to an extremely stiff right pointer finger and cannot focus on anything else until I crack it. The crack helps, but it is still stiff for quite some time.  Also, my right finger knuckle is noticeably larger (perhaps more swollen) than the left at all times.

I cook, text, type, and clean a lot all with my right hand so I’m wondering if the disparity and swelling is simply due to overuse or due to something more sinister like rheumatoid arthritis.

How did your symptoms first present themselves? For me, it really is just that right pointer finger. I don’t notice joint pain anywhere else. Am I being paranoid? Any relatable comments are welcome. Thank you!!

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  • Posted

    Hi Mid, I was diagnosed a fair few years ago with RA, my original symptoms were bilateral swelling in all finger joints and wrists, acute pain that was constant but much worse in the mornings on waking.

    My bloods were taken what seemed like constantly over the next 6 months and I had and still have elevated ESR and CRP and a rheumatoid factor in blood.

    There were also many other symptoms to add to those, what I think I'm trying to say is that I cannot imagine one symptom would lead it to be RA and although cracking your knuckles constantly would not cause RA as its an autoimmune disease unlike osteoarthritis which is a joint inflammatory diseases, please stop cracking your knuckles as I think its become a habit which will cause more problems in time.

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  • Posted

    My rheumatologist assure me that RA is bilateral, and this has been my experience.
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  • Posted

    Hi, I think we are all different in how it starts, for me my feet/ankles were hot and burning and felt as though I had stockings on. I then started feeling that my fingers were ‘loose’ as though sinew and skin was the only thing keeping them together. They then started getting stiff. I’ve never cracked my fingers but now they sometimes do it just by moving them and I can’t support anything in my hands any more as I feel as though they will break. My hands are starting to feel more comfortable in a fist which is a worry, holding them straight is near impossible now without braces.

    it seems to me that you may have osteo but only a doctor or rheumatologist can tell you a correct diagnosis and an early diagnosis is essential in RA.

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  • Posted

    I was diagnosed about 6 years ago after what I thought were bizarre symptoms over a few weeks. First awful pain and heat in one shoulder which I couldn’t move up, out or in any direction. 3 days later, gone. A week later the same but in the other shoulder which was gone again in 3-4 days. Then my fingers swelled one at a time but huge like pork sausages and then would go down.  I agree with the others that all our symptoms vary and wear and tear is usually OA but early diagnosis crucial in RA so ruling it out just as valuable. Go and see your GP.  I sincerely hope it isn’t RA for your sake. Good luck. Carol 
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  • Posted


         Hard to say exactly what is causing your problem as we all experience the intial symptoms differently.  My first painful experience was just one finger on my left hand but extreme fatigue that went on for a long while was more concerning to me at that time.   The diagnosis was made with xray and blood tests.   Eventually the pain went to the other hand/ the same digit as on my left.   But to be properly diagnosed you need to see your pcp who can run tests   Don't think cracking your knuckles would cause RA .  Hopefully just overuse of that hand has caused it.   

      Good luck and let us know how your doctor appt goes

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