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Hand clenching up...Should I be worried?

Hi, I'm new here. I've had JRA since I was 6 years old and was diagnosed with Systemic RA and Lupus at 15 after coming out of a long remission. The Lupus went into remission when I was 17 thanks to an awesome Rheumatologist, but my RA is still active. I'm 24 now. I know I have damage and I'm on Methotrexate to control the RA, but in the last month I've had severe pain in my right hand and it has actually clenched and folded up. The only way I've found that helps is soaking my hand in hot water, but isn't the medicine supposed to help keep this kind of thing from happening? I'm right-hand dominate and it is beginning to hinder my job. I'm a drafter. So I do a lot of typing and mouse-clicking. Any advice or help would be great! I've already scheduled an appointment with my Rheumatologist to discuss this, but it's not till next Friday.

  1. Hi DrafterChick. Sorry to hear that you are having these difficulties with your hands. I'm glad to hear that you have an appointment scheduled with your rheumatologist, as any new symptoms need to be reported and addressed as quickly as possible with your medical team.

    Hands, unfortunately, are one of the areas most cited by members of the community as a problem area. This article compiled community ideas on managing pain, including a section on the hands:

    This article from our editorial team looks at joint swelling, tightness, and stiffness: It has a sections on particular joint regions, with treatment information.

    This article from one of our contributors looks joint protection, with tips for keeping joint strong:

    You may also want to take a look at our Facebook page at for additional information and support from the community.

    Please keep us posted on how the appointment goes and how you are doing. Best, Richard ( Team)

    1. Hi DrafterChick.
      Hope your appointment went well.
      I am also a CAD drafter and spend a lot of the day using a mouse and keyboard. I have never had happen what you are describing and wow, bet it feels spooky.
      I mostly get stiff tired hands by days end and the sitting all day is about the worst thing for the legs, back and heart.

      1. Hi DrafterChick, I too have the hands clenching and stiff and feeling swollen and had to run hot water over them to get them to release some. My pain management doctors gives me cortosteroid injections directly into my hands. This usually works for me for about 6 months. Massage also helps with my hands, but only short term.

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