Joint inflammation Advice

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My wife has Scleroderma and sero inflammatory arthritis for the last year. She is unable to bend her fingers in her left hand and from today she can not bend her thumb. The thumb also looks swollen.

We are currently holidaying in Portugal so I can’t take her to A&E and as normal my local hospital arthritis helpline are not responding. I have started a dose of paracetamol to try and reduce the inflammation. Her hand will become completely useless if we lose the little mobility she has left.

Does anyone have any advice on what to do, who to contact, etc.



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  • Posted

    Hi, sorry to hear of your wife’s flare up. I had something similar, I have Raynauds, but not diagnoised with scleroderma. I was given  inch wide cohesive bandages to put on the affected fingers to reduce the swelling, plus anti inflammatory medication NSAIDs.

    it took several weeks, and I only had 2 fingers affected at any one time. I also moisturised my hands frequently. The worst affected finger the skin peeled off. It is important that you try to seek medical advice to check the cause and best way to treat this flare up, and although painful it is important to keep trying  to bend the fingers. The cohesive bandage did help me and reduced the swelling. It sticks to it self, and tends to come in bright colours, Amazon sells it,  Start bandaging from the tip of the finger upwards, getting the right tension is important, don’t cut off circulation! I reapplied it at least once a day, more if it got uncomfortable.

    Keep trying to contact your specialist nurse, even try phoning the rheumatology ward of the hospital you are under in the UK or the secretary of the consultant you are under.


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  • Posted

    "We are currently holidaying in Portugal so I can’t take her to A&E"

    Forgive me for asking: why not? We in mainland Europe have excellent hospitals, with emergency departments, who will see you and advise/treat your wife - and probably quicker than in the UK! That is why you have an EHIC card. Make the msot of it why you have it!

    Paracetamol isn't ideal when you need an antiinflammatory effect - it has next to no effect on inflammation. You would need an NSAID like ibuprofen for that.

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  • Posted

    Having scleroderma for 20 years with no serious problems until now when RA was diagnosed. Hands fingers and wrists stiff and swollen up to my elbows. Happened so fast. Meds were changed to Cellcept which is a rejection drug. Searching now for a specialist. You need to google centers of excellence for scleroderma. You will find a place that specializes in scleroderma  near you. Best wishes. 
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  • Posted

    Hi Trevor, I agree with Eileen. You should be able to access care in Portugal.  A &E  may not be the answer , I don’t know, (my local A&E went into panic mode and referred me back to my GP when I mentioned methotrexate once. ) There must be something locally you can find online or be directed to which your insurance will cover?  Good luck x

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  • Posted

    Would a cortisone injection help with that?  It helped when I couldn’t make a fist. 
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