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I’ve been living with Rheumatoid Arthritis for 13 years and thought I had the physical manifestations of the disease down…nope.

Last fall I started having weird pain in my left leg; a shooting pain that originated behind my knee and would travel up and/or down my leg at random. It wasn’t linked to sitting, standing, laying, walking, nothing. It happened randomly or for short periods of time then would be no problem. Talked to the Rheumy about it and she didn’t seem concerned. After a few months of it, I was used to it just like I was used to the bum hip, painful shoulder, and unbending finger. Then, the shooting pains were accompanied by muscle spasms that caused my leg to kick out randomly. This was not convenient in meetings when I’d accidently kick the person sitting next to me!

On top of the shooting pain and muscle spasms in my left leg I started having similar pain in my hands and feet that was causing cramping. It felt very different than the typical RA joint stiffness and pain. Turns out…tenosynovitis which is inflammation and swelling of the tendon and tendon sheath (synovium). This has led to tight muscles, muscle cramps, and more pain. Apparently inflammation of tendons doesn’t respond as well to anti-inflammatory drugs as inflammation in joints. 30mg daily of steroids helped, but wasn’t sustainable. I had to get my RA under control. We increased the dosing of my biologic and that is starting to help, thankfully. Hopefully I can get off the steroids soon.

Between this, the occasional costochondritis (rib swelling), inflammation in the larynx causing me to sound like Peter Brady in puberty, and weird dry eyes…I seem to luck out with odd symptoms.

Just when I think I understand the effects of RA something new pops up. Such is life with a chronic disease.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • agsides
    3 years ago

    Yes, I have tenosynovitis in my hands. No reason for the tendon swelling and it never goes down unless I’m on steroids which I’m trying to avoid.

  • AspieRAChick
    3 years ago

    I have this exact problem and again only steroids help but i was only recently diagnosed two months ago and havent started on ANY meds and diclofenac and naproxen do nothing for this. Ugh. But its nice to see that this is an actual thing. Thanks for writing!

  • Richard Faust moderator
    3 years ago

    Michelle, thanks for contributing your story. Sorry to hear that you are having these added difficulties. Here is an article looking at some of the various comorbidities that can accompany RA: Keep us posted on how you’re doing and hoping the news will be good.

    Best, Richard ( Team)

  • Lauren Tucker moderator
    3 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing your story with us and giving us more information on your tenosynovitis and RA. Pain and stiffness alone can be difficult, and on top of that you had some other symptoms too, we are glad that the steroids have helped get them under control.

    We hear you when it comes to new and unusual sypmtoms appearing with RA. While the community may provide you with some feedback, because you certainly are not alone in feeling this way, here is an article I thought would resonate with you. “RA symptoms, The Unusual and Frustrating.”

    Glad to have you part of our community and please come back anytime for support, feedback or information.

    Best Wishes,
    Lauren (Community Manager

  • Michelle author
    3 years ago

    Thanks, Lauren! I saw that article and it definitely did resonate!

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