I was hoping someone could help me figure something out. I was sitting at my computer last night and all of a sudden noticed that my knuckles and fingers (including upper joints in my fingers) were sore and I felt some unusual resistance when I tried to make a fist or stretch my fingers out. They're a bit less stiff today though still quite sore (i have pretty much full range of motion back and forward, it's just tight and uncomfortable), I have no redness or intense burning of any sort, and no visible swelling as far as I can tell (though it feels like they could be a bit swollen, hence the feeling of "resistance" to movement). My fingers just feel stiffer than normal and sensitive, and i get occasional momentary tingling that disappears pretty quickly (the kind of cool sensation you might get when a limb is recovering from having fallen asleep, like restored bloodflow). Changing the position of my arms doesn't change anything, though the occasional tingling sensations do travel up to my wrists and arms sometimes. This made me think that I might have compressed a nerve (like carpal tunnel or something), but what would compressing a nerve have to do with sore knuckle joints?
There is some pain when I try to push my fingers back (in the direction of my arm), as well as some pain when I push them sideways (all extended next to each other, pushing on the side of my hand). The level of pain is more or less constant, though not too intense. Applying heat helps temporarily. Neither the pain nor the feeling of sensitivity is intense enough to interfere with basic everyday activities, but I am constantly aware of them and my hands are very uncomfortable.
I'm confused about the fact that this happened so suddenly. I had no injury or any big change in temperature, and I can't find any sort of potential diagnosis that would involve such a sudden onset.
I do crack my knuckles regularly, though they never hurt and nothing like this has ever happened before. I've even felt the need to crack them today, despite the stiffness, and it didn't hurt, it seemed to even have helped feel a bit better.
I have no history of early onset arthritis in my family (or any at all, i think), and I'm 21 years old.
I hope that made sense. I would really appreciate it if anyone could help me shed some light on the issue, I'm really very confused and getting worried.
Last edited by purplesilhouette; 10-13-2009 at 03:36 PM.
Chances are this is just temporary and is from excessive use of the fingers and hands...called a repetative stress injury.....doing something a little too much.
Arthritis in the hands has some definite symptoms and you have to have pain for a while to have arthritis, not a short time. So keep watching and see if it goes away or keeps on hurting. Osteoarthritis(the arthritis of aging) will affect the outer most joints of the fingers but doesn't affect the hand knuckles as much and the base of the thumb and rarely the wrist. Rheumatoid arthritis doesn't affect the outer most joints but does affect the hand knuckles and the whole wrist.
Carpal tunnel can affect the entire hand, wrist and arm(all the way to the shoulder if bad). There is a simple test to see if it might be carpal tunnel. Look at your palm and bend you hand backwards(not forcefully) then try tapping on your wrist all over. If you get that electric shock sensation into your hand or up your arm, then you probably have carpal tunnel. If so, that is a repetative stress problem and is initially treated with rest. You can buy simple wrist splints in any drug store and wear them when you go to bed to help rest them more.
If you think it's arthritis, try resting the hands. Rest is the #1 thing you can do to lessen the pain. You can try taking ibuprofen 3-4 times a day for a week or so to lessen inflammation. Knock off the typing on the computer. Try wrapping your hands in a heating pad. If it still persists, then consider seeing an arthritis specialist(rheumatologist) to be evaluated. They treat arthritis and carpal tunnel.
But I bet if you give your hands complete rest for a couple of days, you'll feel better. Too much computer time is tough on hands. I have to limit my typing time or I can't type at all.
Thanks so much for your reply. Now that's it's been a couple days since the initial symptoms, my hands do seem to be gradually getting better. At this point it does seem like more of a stress injury (negative on the carpal tunnel test, and the pain seems to be localizing more to movement of the pointer finger).
Glad to her it. Now keep resting that index finger. You know what I do when that happens? I put Band Aids on the joints of the finger and that reminds me to rest it and if I do use it, acts like a splint that I can replace any time I want. Try it. It works!