You Might Be Swollen If . . .

You Might Be Swollen If . . .

If one were to think of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis/rheumatoid disease (RA/RD) as a social clique, pain is usually the queen bee. However, fatigue and inflammation often vie for the number two spot, and can sometimes be even more prominent than pain. Like all RA/RD symptoms, inflammation can be mild, moderate or severe, and can vary from day to day and week to week. When my inflammation is mild, I often give it little notice (although over the years my rheumatologists have reminded me of the dangers inflammation poses to the body). However, when I’m really swollen, it becomes readily apparent and can be extremely uncomfortable.

Any of you who experience significant swelling will probably recognize some of this inflammation-indicators and have additional ones to add to the list.

You might be swollen if . . .

When you take your shoes off, their outlines are indented on your feet.

You look like you gained 10 pounds . . . since yesterday.

If you try to make a fist, you look less like a person about to land a punch and more like you’re about to do a mike drop.

When you straighten your leg your knee still feels as if it’s bent.

Your elbows are squishy instead of bony.

The wrinkles on your fingers and wrists have disappeared.

The shoes that fit yesterday are unbearable to wear today.

Your rings are cutting into your fingers.

Your ankles are nearly the same size as the bottoms of your calves.

Your favorite bangle bracelets won’t fit over your hand.

You have to significantly loosen the laces on your tennis shoes in order to get them on.

Your straight-leg jeans somehow became skinny-jeans overnight.

Your hands look like latex gloves someone’s filled with pudding.

The waistband of your underwear feels like a vise on your hips.

The skin on your knuckles and elbows has cracked.

You can’t curl your toes.

You can’t fully straighten your legs or your fingers.

Your body feels like a human jello mold.

Those are a few of my in-your-face inflammation indicators. Can you relate? Do you have any others to add to the list?

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Comments

View Comments (10)
  • Susan1240
    7 months ago

    When I first wake up in the morning and look in the mirror. My lips and face are swollen. I am very familiar with the hands and fingers swelling. Can hardly pick up a cup of coffee. The one enjoyable things about my morning.

  • Tamara Haag moderator author
    7 months ago

    Thanks for sharing, Susan1240! Yes, facial swelling takes it to a whole new level. Wishing you all the best, Tamara

  • Patricia Darstein
    7 months ago

    The “wrinkles” on your face have disappeared..As happy as you may be this is swelling. It is difficult to open your mouth fully and your jaw aches. Rings don’t fit! Unfortunate for us, sometimes there are no signs. If you are always a bit swollen as myself, there are no signs. It just sucks. By 4 pm I am so tired I am unable to keep my eyes open as hard as I try.

  • Tamara Haag moderator author
    7 months ago

    Hi Patricia, thank you for sharing! Inflammation and fatigue are so problematic, and I’m sure many of us can relate to your comments. Gentle hugs, Tamara

  • rockcandi
    7 months ago

    Your husband has to take care of you like you’re a two year old: brush your hair (your elbows are so swelled you can’t bend your arms that way); tie your shoes (you can’t bend your knees); button your coat (you can’t bend an manipulate your fingers).

  • Tamara Haag moderator author
    7 months ago

    Thanks for sharing, Rockcandi! Yes, I know that feeling of being a toddler again when I need my husband to help me with my shoes and buttons. It is humbling! Wishing you all the best, Tamara

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips
    7 months ago

    Or your wife when entering the room asks, who are you? It was an eye opening experience (if only my eye lids where not also swollen)

  • starscream
    7 months ago

    My doctor says to watch for swelling near the eyes as it can cause blindness. There is something called temporal arteritis I had once, swelled up to the right of my right eye. He put me on prednisone. He was very concerned. It can be comorbid with RA (which I have). I have had swellings like all those described above and lumps in various places but near the eye concerned him the most.

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips
    7 months ago

    Thanks Stascream, but thankfully it was only a temporary condition brought on by not getting a good nights sleep.

  • Tamara Haag moderator author
    7 months ago

    Oh no, swollen eyelids! So sorry your inflammation has hit you seemingly everywhere. Thank you for sharing, Rick! Best, Tamara

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