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Old 01-18-2011, 03:02 PM   #1
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Question stiff fingers and pain

I started having some osteo-arthritis in my knees. Now my fingers feel so stiff. They hurt a little, but feel so stiff. I don't know what to do.

The doctor I had didn't reccomend anything but Tylenol or Motrin. I have a new doctor, I will talk to her next month I think.
I asked about what I should do or what I should avoid, he didn't tell me much.
Later on a visit, he said: "what are you thinking? you aren't supposed to be running with those knees?" He said I am wearing out my cartilage. So now what, I can't use any joints so I don't wear out???

In the meantime. What can I do to help the stiffness? I crochet, but I use a little rubber holder on the crochet hook so I don't stress the fingers as much.

I think that I should keep moving so it doesn't get worse.
Is there anything other than pills that can help?

Old 01-18-2011, 03:40 PM   #2
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Re: stiff fingers and pain

Hi Strawberry Hill. You didn't say how old you are. If you are still fairly young with this ind of stiffness, I'd ask about seeing an arthritis specialist. This could be more than just OA. But even if you are older, they have lots of tricks to help ease the pain and stiffness.

I'm also a crocheter and haven't been able to crochet for years due to both OA and RA. with some new meds, I am now able. I also use those little foam things that you put your hook in...helps a lot. I've also changed some of the ways I hold the yarn. but what I've found really helps is changing my projects as the day goes on. Anything small I do in the AM when my hands are the loosest. By mid afternoon, I switch t something with a bigger hook and thicker yarn. by evening, I'm into super chunky yarn and a minimum of a P hook. Seems to help by changing how I crochet...the bigger hooks and yarns make you use different tendons in the hands.

But I also give them a day off now and then and do nothing......not even type. I also give them a good massage at least twice a day with a good hand cream(gets the blood flowing better) and I use heat...soaks and heating pad, when they ache like they do today. Again, that helps the blood flow to the tendons. Tendons have a notoriously bad blood flow so anything to increase it helps.

If you have bad knee arthritis, you can walk but don't run. Running pounds the daylights out of them but walking actually helps. The cartilage in the knee works by the "on and off" pressure of taking a step pushing joint fluid through the cartilage and makes it healthier. All running does is is grind it up. So walk for exercise.

But I would ask about seeing a rheumatologist just to make sure it is OA and nothing else. They can give you some good advice on how to handle it. Some people like supplements like glucosamine but studies have shown no improvement from them. some use other things but the truth is, OA symptoms come and go so you might think something is working when it really isn't. Pain meds and finding out what makes them feel better in terms of aids(like a cane for bad knees) are about it until you need joint replacement. There are new drugs coming for OA but not yet.

And my favorite tip for hands...if one particular joint hurts, put a BandAid around it...acts like a splint and rests that particular joint. Give it a day and it will feel better. No one asks about it(like a splint does) and you can still do the dishes with it or take a shower as it's cheap.

Any questions, please ask. Good place to vent about the pain too.

gentle hugs.............Jenny

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Old 01-18-2011, 06:15 PM   #3
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Re: stiff fingers and pain

Thank you.
I am 41, I feel so old and creaky sometimes. I thought I would be in my 70s before I got any of these ailments, he he.

Yeah the doctor wouldn't tell me what my limitations were, and I was still in the Army. I HAD to run, no choice, unless doctor gave me a note syaing I couldn't, which I insisted he did.

My back is also messed up because of my heavy duffle bags and gear. But again, all the doctor says is take Motrin, it'll be ok.

Thanks, I will keep in mind the warm compresses. I work at home as an interpreter, so I don't have much to worry about. I corchet, but that actually doesn't bother me too much, feels like as long as I keep moving along, I am ok. Yes I use the little cushion grips, so I don't have to hold the hook tight.

I use big hooks and big yarn, I just like them, you work faster and the yarn is softer.

Thank you again,

Old 01-19-2011, 12:53 AM   #4
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Re: stiff fingers and pain

Tylenol or ibuprofen as needed for pain (a long acting drug like naproxen or Mobic might be preferable)

Glucosamine 750mg twice a day

Heat creams like Bengay
The desire to take medicines is what seperates man from the lower animals - William Ostler

Multiple anecdotes do not equal evidence - Me

Old 01-19-2011, 08:37 AM   #5
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Re: stiff fingers and pain

At 41 and with that amount of stiffness, I'd ask to see a rheumatologist just to make sure it's not rheumatoid arthritis.

OA in the hands tends to cause more pain than stiffness but the main symptom of RA is that stiffness, especially if it lasts over an hour in the AM. It's worth the testing and observation to see if you are developing it. With so many new drugs that can almost stop it in it's tracks, it is worth knowing.

Please ask your doc about seeing someone. RA is not diagnosed by just a blood test but by a preponderance of symptoms. I will see if I can bump up the list again. There are 7 criteria and you have to have 4 of the 7 for a diagnosis and only 1 of those is a blood test. So is stiffness lasting more than 1 hour in the AM.

Check out the list and see if you have any others. RA is now a treatable disorder whereas nothing stops OA.

gentle hugs............Jenny

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