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How did your symptoms start and progress?

Hi all, new guy here looking for some anecdotal help related to onset and progression rate of your symptoms. I'm in an allied health field and understand the human body fairly well, so feel free to get technical with your descriptions.

I'm a 32 yo male with a long history of sports injuries to my hands, feet, ankles, knees, back and shoulders, although none were really serious. Certainly not enough to cause arthritis I wouldn't think. It's difficult for me to differentiate and identify some things because they come and go quickly and most don't reach what I would consider to be a high level of pain. Max gets to maybe a 6 then settles down.

Over the last two years I have had a progressively expanding range of joint pains that come and go, sometimes only lasting a few hours in the morning. The next day something else will hurt and the prior joint will feel fine. I can go months at a time without significant issues too, it's all very unpredictable.

As the weather changed over the past two weeks I have felt the following: stiff thumbs and fingers with one thumb feeling nearly broken for one day. Unexplained knee pain that felt like ligament damage for 2 days then totally fine. Potential foot plantar surface neuropathy for a couple of hours - felt like I had been walking on hot sand and had irritated my burned the bottoms of both feet. Metatarsal heads ache on both feet randomly. One big toe joint felt extra painful for a couple of hours then has been fine. Plantar fasciitis pain, low level, for a couple of days now first thing in the morning.

I haven't noticed any joint swelling or redness lately. Only time I really have was two years ago when we had a stretch of sub-zero temperature days and an index finger swelled up and the soles of my feet were on fire. Went to my PCP that day and was told blood tests looked fine and x-ray showed mild arthritis in multiple fingers but they wouldn't do any other tests or imaging and didn't want to consider that I had anything unusual happening.

The thing that is really getting me right now is fatigue and brain fog. I've felt like a zombie more days than not over the past 3 weeks, and I'm usually very high energy and clear headed. Sleep patterns haven't changed, except that I feel the need to crash as soon as I'm home from work some days now. I'm definitely struggling to do my job well right now as it has both mental and physical components to it. My body, and my hands in particular, feel increasingly clumsy and uncoordinated lately.

Can anyone relate to this scenario or provide me with details of your own progression?

Thanks!

  1. Hi Derick,

    Thanks for sharing. I can relate to you somewhat. The difference is that I am definitely diagnosed with RA and I have been on the same medication for the past 3 years.

    My RA started in both elbows and then spread to the rest of my joints. My flare-ups, at this point, lasted a while in the same joint (elbows, knees, hands, hips, ankles) until I found the right medication. Since finding the right medication for me, my arthritis is very unpredictable. Every day is different. Some days I feel as healthy as a normal person and the next day my wrist flares up and then my ankle and then one finger etc. It is always changing. Like you said, sometimes it lasts a couple of hours and sometimes it lasts a couple of days with the same joint. It's been so long that I have given up trying to understand how and why my flare-ups happen. I think that unpredictability is just the nature of RA.

    I also deal with a lot of fatigue and brain fog. I had plantar fasciitis for a while, too. I think there are many other frustrating side effects that we all have to deal with as a result of RA.

    Lastly, you say you don't think you've done anything to cause arthritis. When it comes to Rheumatoid Arthritis, I think it's hard to say that something necessarily caused it since it's autoimmune. I was diagnosed with RA at 15. I only played sports recreationally and I never had any sort of injury. The RA just came out of nowhere as I think it does for most people.

    Since it has been two years since your PCP only noticed mild arthritis, there is a possibility it has progressed. Mine came on pretty suddenly and strongly but I know a lot of times it can be gradual. Have you thought about getting your blood drawn again to see if it has indeed progressed? If your pain is becoming unmanageable it could be worth trying to see if there is a biologic that can help you.

    I hope this helps! Let us know how everything goes.

    Best,
    Franki, RheumatoidArthritis.net Team

    1. Thanks for the reply, Franki

      I should probably clarify a couple things there...

      I was referring to osteoarthritis as far as causing arthritis. I don't think I've done anything to cause osteo, so I'm looking at other possibilities including RA and psoriatic

      I haven't been diagnosed with anything really yet based on the first PCP not being too interested in it. I set an appt today with a new PCP, and I'm hoping to get some more blood work done again next week.

      My shoulder pain popped back up today too. An old nemesis that I hadn't heard from in awhile.

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