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Swollen ankles, puffy hands and fingers, cramping. Have kidney problem due to medication. Cause?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2000
Answered : 1417 Questions
my dad is 83. he had kidney problems 4 years ago caused by medication. he stayed steroids until very recently. he is over weight and inactive due to mobility and not able to walk much. he cares for my mum who has dementia. he has had long term swollen ankles but the last 3 wks has very puffy hands and fingers which keep cramping and he then has trouble releasing them. writing and buttons etc are becoming difficult. if he screws up his fingers they stay locked for a few seconds and are painful. we thought it was arthritus rhumatism but i now wonder could there be another underlying medical cause? he has also had muscle spasm pain down his right side towards back area which our local doctor said was sprained muscle. he has been taking paracetamol to ease that. it wakes him up in early hours. the hand problem is the latest. is there a link or just old age and aches and pains? also he has had itchey skin in last 3 months particulary neck shoulders arms with no sighs of rash.
Posted Thu, 6 Sep 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Sudhir 1 hour later

Thanks for the question.

All these symptoms are due to kidney problem.Leg swelling is very common symptom in altered kidney function.Cramps are likely due to electrolyte imbalance again due to kidney issues.

I would suggest you to see nephrologist for this and get his kidney function tests done.

Hope this answers your question.Please ask if there are doubts.Regards.
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Follow-up: Swollen ankles, puffy hands and fingers, cramping. Have kidney problem due to medication. Cause? 1 hour later
thankyou. dad has monthly blood tests since the kidney problem. surely these would be showing up something or would it require special tests? does itching have a kidney connection?
Answered by Dr. Sudhir 7 minutes later
No special tests are actually needed.But a nephrologist should analyze his reports.

The leg swelling he is having is pedal edema.This kind of swelling is not specific for one particular cause and can be seen in various conditions. Few such conditions are venous insufficiency in leg, diseases of heart ,kidney .liver,lung etc, lymphedema, hypertension and allergies.If nephrologist thinks it's not related to kidney, then these causes need to ruled out.

If itching is local then it can be due to infection or allergy.If itching is involving most body parts then liver issues need to considered.

Hope this answers your questions.Regards.

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