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Swollen, stiff, fairly painful index finger
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Swollen, stiff, fairly painful index finger

I have had this for over a week, and it seems to be getting worse.  I am 33 and in very good health.

The 1st knuckle on my index finger is pretty swollen, stiff and has a fair amount of pain when I bend or touch it.  I have already been to urgent care, and was told it was not infected due to no heat or redness.  I was given Ibuprofen and a splint, told to follow up tomorrow if no improvement.  They sugest bloodwork to test for uric acid or arthritis.  he said possibly gout, but that is usually more painful.  I do eat a high red meat diet, with higher purine foods- ie aspargus and beans.

I do not recall injuring it enough to cause anything like this.  i do crick my knuckles- old habit I am slowly breaking- but that has never given me problems either.  I have started cold compress today and occasional war, Ill see what that does.

Just looking for ideas on what this could be :).
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1193998_tn?1265121197
Did they take an xray? If so, what did they say about it?

Is the swollen joint in your dominant hand? My mother has trouble with that joint from a lifetime of sewing, so I'm wondering if it's a repetitive stress injury. Pain and swelling in a single joint isn't always typical of RA, which is autoimmune, but very typical of OA, which is caused by wear-and-tear or injury.

When you say "first joint", do you mean the one closest to your fingertip, or the joint that connect your finger to your palm?
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Avatar_n_tn
I mean the biggest knuckle on my actua finger, not the one that connects it to my hand.

It is my dominant hand, and I am very rough on my hands....however, none of my other knuckles have a ny soreness or pain.

The Urgent Care told me to follow up this week- whick I am doing Thursday- with my primary Dr if the pain has not gone away.  They said xrays would happen and blood work to look for Uric acid and i think RA as well.

The swelling grew on Sunday but has since gone down.  The pain is still very much there, a sharp pain between my joints.  It hurts like anything if I press in that area, but does not hurt too bad as I use it, although  I cannot close it fully without pain or the swelling preventing that.

If it were OA, would it normally come on that quickly?
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1193998_tn?1265121197
Hm. I'm wondering if you have a bone spur on on that finger. I had one that didn't really bother me until all of a sudden one day. A simple surgery to remove the spur will help, if that's what it is. These things build up slowly over time and like I said, can randomly start bugging you out of the blue.

In any case, your primary care doctor, after xrays and bloodwork, might inject a bit of steroid into that joint to quiet it down and give you some temporary relief until it's determined what the underlying problem is. Good luck!.
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1193998_tn?1265121197
Oh, and go to the drug store and look in the first aid section for little finger sleeves made of an elastic material like an Ace bandage. Several sizes come in a package. You select the size to fit your finger so it's not too tight or too loose. The material will help keep the joint warm, and the elastic will support the joint and compress some of the swelling out.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you, Carol, for the suggestions.  I am going to try that finger brace....as my work is pretty cool and the finger hurts more when cold.

Went to the DR today....Xrays were taken.  She ordered bloodwork for antibodies, uric acid, and a lyme disease test.  She gave me an antibiotic as well as an anti inflammatory, so I'll see what happens over the next week.  

It seems to be fairly steady- not getting worse or better- in terms of pain or swelling.  I cannot close the finger, proabably only halfway.  The more active i am with it, the less it seems to bother me....when i wear the splint, within a couple hours the whole joint bind up and I need to saok in hot water to free up the tightness.
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1558461_tn?1295396201
Are you a nurse? Or Dr.? You seem to have such a wide range of Medical knowledge.
Just wondering. I've been reading some of the reaponses you have been giving.
always sounds great. so thanks again for your response to my question.
lucygirl159

P.S. wish they had a spell check on the site. ( I'm a terriable speller.) Ha Ha
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Avatar_f_tn
I know this is super old, but I have EXACTLY what you are describing going on - started 1 week ago. I was wondering if you ever got a diagnosis? Are you still having problems?
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Avatar_n_tn
Did you ever find out the cause of your pain?  The same thing is happening to me on my non dominant index finger.  Mine hurts the worst when i wake in the am, swelling will also decrease after i am up for about an hour.   Still tender and sore all day but swelling and pain subside.  I am healthy 44 year old male.  I can't figure this out and was surprised to find someone with the same seemingly random symptoms.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am having the same problem, do you experience a tight squeezing sensation when making a fist or retracting that finger?
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Avatar_f_tn
Very strange to hear this is happening to more people, my boyfriend had this happen to him last night.  It was completely out of the blue and it started before he went to bed.  He woke up and still has it all through today.  I just came across this site because I was trying to find something to help him.  It's on his non dominant hand and it is his index finger.  It's very swollen, not red, not hot, it's stiff and hurts to bend it.  I can't find any bite marks and nothing injured it.  He said it hurts to make a fist or bend that finger at all.  I really hope you all find something that helps.  Please keep me posted if anyone has any info.
Thanks!
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm having the exact same problem with my non-dominant index finger.  It's been coming and going on for several months now.  It's quite painful and uncomfortable.  I have my regular physical scheduled for 10/15 and was going to wait til then to talk to him about it.  Urgent care said it was just inflammation.  It just makes no sense to me.  Why inflamed?  Haven't injured it.
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Avatar_f_tn
He had it for about 4 days or so.  I think it's finally feeling better since he hasn't mentioned it.  If you get any advice from your doctor could you please make a post.  I would love to know what is causing this.  
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10389859_tn?1409925468
When you feel like you are having a flare of pain or symptoms, try using ice initially, then heat.  During a flare, as mentioned early in this thread, immobilizing the affected finger or joint (above and below the painful area) is best; I find doing this at night is easiest and this way you can't sleep on it "funny."  For heat, some people find soaking it under running water, or putting it in a warm glass of water helpful, or getting a paraffin bath helpful for larger areas.

After an acute flare, try to exercise the joint gently; keeping it from moving will only make things worse.

Should you find that these areas become red, hot, swollen, joint(s) lock up, decrease range of motion, or having increased flares, fatigue, fever, generalized aches, just not feeling well....you need to see a doctor (preferably a Rheumatologist).  They may order tests or do some diagnostic testing as well as exam you.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for the advice!
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10389859_tn?1409925468
You're welcome. :-)
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Avatar_m_tn
OK, this same pain/inflammation started in my non dominant left hand index finger yesterday. Woke up yesterday and the first knuckle from my palm was sore and would not close completely. As the day progressed, mobility deceased and swelling slowly increased. I took Advil and went to bed. I woke up this morning and swelling is much larger and very little mobility in the finger and throbbing in the finger comes and goes. Like others, I do not remember anything that I did to cause this injury. I do not remember being bit by any insects and have no idea what has caused this. I will follow the suggestion about the finger sleeve. Any other suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
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Avatar_m_tn
OK, this same pain/inflammation started in my non dominant left hand index finger yesterday. Woke up yesterday and the first knuckle from my palm was sore and would not close completely. As the day progressed, mobility deceased and swelling slowly increased. I took Advil and went to bed. I woke up this morning and swelling is much larger and very little mobility in the finger and throbbing in the finger comes and goes. Like others, I do not remember anything that I did to cause this injury. I do not remember being bit by any insects and have no idea what has caused this. I will follow the suggestion about the finger sleeve. Any other suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
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7721494_tn?1411517293
Yes, compression can bring down swelling, as can ice, elevation, and rest. However, that's the treatment for sprains.

Knowing nothing of your medical history, this sounds like an attack of gout. If so, it will last a couple of weeks or more, and nothing helps much with the pain.

But this could be any number of problems and not gout. I'm not a doctor and don't make diagnoses. Seek medical advice if you want a professional answer.

Naprosyn will work better than ibuprofen for the pain, but a prescription NSAID, Indomethacin is indicated for the pain of a gout attack. Call your doctor. It's not controlled and he can phone it in.

There is a test to confirm gout which involves removal of fluid from the joint, and having a rheumatologist examine the sample under a special microscope for crystals.

Gout is caused by a high level of purines, which are present in a diet high in meat, alcohol, shellfish, and a variety of other foods. You can find more information online.

As I said, it may not be gout. If these attacks continue, get a confirmation diagnosis, as there is a prevention treatment -- a medication called allopurinol.

I had one of these attacks last winter in my feet -- first one, then the other, with a month's rest in between. Very painful. This was the first time it happened (I am in my 60s), and I thought it was gout, but I also have a chronic spine disease, and now believe it was a symptom of neuropathy.

If you have any questions, doubts, further symptoms, or complaints -- see your doctor.

Best wishes.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks, the swelling and pain did not decrease today and I will make a doctors appointment tomorrow.
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