I am 57. Recently, I have experienced a swelling and pain in some fingers. It comes and goes, occurs in different fingers, and stays swollen for a couple days and then disappears. The swelling seems to occur from the middle to lower part of the finger making it difficult to bend my finger. Any suggestion as to causes, determining the cause and treatment? Thank you.
The inflammation and swelling in your fingers are called arthritis.
The most common ones are osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid arthritis and we are giving you some knowledge to distinguish them and for proper diagnosis you are advised to visit an Orthoapedician for examination, diagnosis and follow up with treatment.
1) Osteoarthritis: The main symptom is acute pain, causing loss of ability and often stiffness. "Pain" is generally described as a sharp ache, or a burning sensation in the associated muscles and tendons. OA can cause a crackling noise (called "crepitus") when the affected joint is moved or touched, and patients may experience muscle spasm and contractions in the tendons.
OA commonly affects the hands, feet, spine, and the large weight bearing joints, such as the hips and knees, although in theory, any joint in the body can be affected. As OA progresses, the affected joints appear larger, are stiff and painful, and usually feel worse, the more they are used throughout the day, thus distinguishing it from rheumatoid arthritis.
There is no laboratory or pathological definition of osteoarthritis, and therefore no accepted laboratory tests to diagnose it. Diagnosis can often be made with reasonable certainty by clinical examination. Confirmation can be done through x-rays.
Treatment of OA consists of exercise, manual therapy, lifestyle modification, medication and other interventions to alleviate pain.
2) Rheumatoid arthritis typically manifests with signs of inflammation, and the affected joints are swollen, warm, painful and stiff early in the morning on waking or following prolonged inactivity. Increased stiffness early in the morning is often a prominent feature of the inflammatory disease which the person may experience and may last for more than a hour. Most commonly, small joints of the hands, feet and cervical spine are affected, but larger joints like the shoulder and knee can also be involved, differing per individual.
When RA is clinically suspected, immunological studies are required, such as testing for the presence of rheumatoid factor (RF, a specific antibody) and X-rays.
We advise you to visit an Orthopaedician for some blood tests and X-rays to diagnose your problem.
Take care and come back to us for further queries.
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