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Hands and fingers hurting. Wrist swollen. Scheduled to have carpal tunnel surgery. Could it be RA?

Jul 2013
User rating for this question
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Answered by

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 1996
Answered : 2148 Questions
Hi, My right hand fingers hurt so much and my right wrist is still swollen from a carpal tunnel surgery three years ago, could it be RA? I am scheduled to have a left hand carpal tunnel surgery soon, and I really don't want to do it since my right hand is feeling so weak and everything. When I am in a/c, my fingers and hands hurt so much. Thank you for listening. Carolyn
Posted Wed, 11 Sep 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad 29 minutes later
Brief Answer:
It's unlikely to be Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Detailed Answer:
Hi, thanks for writing to XXXXXXX

In Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), SYMMETRICAL ARTHRALGIA'S are noted. It implies that it involves the small joints of BOTH HANDS simultaneously with pain & swelling of the affected joints.

Also, your symptoms of pain in the fingers and wrist could be attributed to the post operative complication sequelae of carpal tunnel surgery.

Generally, in cool climatic conditions, the nerve endings become very sensitive to pain stimulus leading to worsening of symptoms.

Hope I have addressed your query. I welcome any more clarifications.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Hands and fingers hurting. Wrist swollen. Scheduled to have carpal tunnel surgery. Could it be RA? 22 minutes later
Thanks for the quick answer. I do have pain in both hands. I have swelling in my fingers, hands and wrists areas. I also noticed that I have muscle pain and stiffness after sitting in one position a long time. My right hand and fingers still get numb a lot. Do you think my pain in my right hand, wrist and fingers are from my surgery in 2010? If that is the cause I shouldn't have surgery on my left hand soon, don't you agree? What should I do next? Thanks again, Carolyn
Answered by Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad 19 minutes later
Brief Answer:
You may need Investigations.

Detailed Answer:
Hi, Nice to hear from you.

The classical presentation in Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is pain & swelling affecting the Metacarpo phalangeal (MCP JOINTS -Knuckle joints) & Proximal interphalangeal joints (PIP joints -lower most finger joints) along with early morning STIFFNESS lasting for more than 1 hour.

So, if you have the above mentioned typical symptomatology, you need to undergo few blood investigations to confirm it as Rheumatoid arthritis.

Muscle pain & stiffness after prolonged sitting in one position may be considered as normal (PHYSIOLOGICAL).

Numbness in the right hand fingers could be due to an injury to the supplying nerve which needs wrist and fingers may be manifesting as a part of the complications of carpal tunnel surgery. A detailed clinical examination and appropriate investigations are necessary to establish the cause for your symptoms.

It doesn't mean to say that every one at every instance suffers all the complications related to a particular surgery. If you are severely symptomatic with regard to the left hand, surgery is indicated. I suggest you to approach a good surgeon with ample amount of experience in carpal tunnel surgeries.

Hope I have justified all your issues. Good day

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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