Deformity of fingers | Arthritis Information


Just wondering if anyone else has dealt with the swelling and deformity of fingers? One of my fingers on my right hand had swollen and could not be controlled, then it became deformed(like it won't lay straight down like the rest). Now the finger next to it is very swollen and painful.


Welcome to AI Sweetpea!

How long have you had RA? I think with deformities starting to begin you might need to change to another treatment that will work better at slowing the damage. Have you been on any other treatments?

If my hands ever get really deformed, I'm going to stare at them until I figure out what they look like, and then, using a sharpie..I'm going to somehow put on the most amazing finger puppet show anyone's EVER seen.

All because of my RA.

And I will call it "Dance of the RA puppeteers"

And I'll make millions.



Stop laughing....I'm serious...

So far, Sally and Mr Buttons seem to be getting along the best. I even think I caught them making out last night. But some of them scare me. I think Leviticus is trying to kill Tom. When I woke up, Tom had a rubber band around his neck.

I too suffer from finger swelling and thought they were horribly deformed until xrays came back.  What is happening is your finger is so swollen that the puss filled areas of the joints are taking their own shape.  You may feel swelling or ridges that feel like bone, but it could just be swelling.

Geting the proper medication should lower it down.  Having that much swelling should be taken care of with medication before your bones are destroyed by the disease. have agreat sense of humor!! You crack me up!*grin* Hi Sweetpea,

I have deformed knuckles from the OA... My hands look pretty bad...just the knuckles closest to the nails..  I wake up every day with swollen hands and hope the crookedness of my hands will just stay the same and not go into the other joints... that's when (I am told) the RA is attacking and causing the deformities.  Saw my RA last week and he assured me that the only deformity is from the OA for now..
Since I have been on remicade, methotrexate and prednisone, I think I am controlling it for now... hopefully vickilee38984.5877083333 tape your puppet show. I would love to see it. For a sequel maybe you can put your toes in it......hahaha


I've been officially diagnosed by my rheumy in May of 2005. Even thought my blood work doesn't confirm it, he states the symptons I've dealt with the last 3 years is enough evidence for him to treat me as having RA. Last May 05 is when the one finger took the swelling and deformity. The physical therapist tried to get me to wear a finger splint, it annoyed me incredibly while typing at work. Now the finger next to it is swollen. I had two cortisone shots in that finger twice last Monday. Swelling has come down some, pain as lifted, but still feel the stiffness. So I am very concerned it will become deformed also. I have been on so many meds over the last few years. The steroid-Predisone helped, but then he took me off to try others--as you can see below, the meds I am currently taking. I did have a medro-dose pack for 2 weeks- within the last month, it helped but for as long as I was taking it. I keep wondering if I may also have OA?    Also, last fall 05 I had MRI done, that showed arthritis and mild deformity. Have also had X-rays---same results I think Katie should do stand-up

My fingers are severely deformed. but I was diagnosed with JRA about 28 years ago, so I have had a lot of time to get this way. A lot of the joints in my fingers have actually fused together and won't move at all. I don't really know any way to stop that from happening other than following the doctors orders as much as possible. Take your meds, go to all your appointments, and make sure you keep them moving and exercising, but don't over do it. And I know how much of a pain those splints can be, but if the doc says to wear themn then wear them. I wish I would have worn mine more often when I was supposed to. I might be better off today, and be a better guitarist than I am. But hey, I am STILL playing guitar, and I have learned to adapt. I am thinking I might give the guitar a break for a while and go into Katie's finger puppet idea. I think my fingers would make a very awesome horror show. Or maybe sci-fi. LOL

Take care,


Liquid Skin38985.9882638889


I guess I feel the OA is possible because it doesn't sound like many people have deformity with RA. I have seen so many people with OA and deformity. Just wondered if you could have both?



I have had major hand deformities. But I have had RA since I was 4 and by my teens many fingers had such joint problems that the joints no longer existed and the bones were rubbing and sliding down each other. I have some pre-surgery pics, not a pretty site! I started having surgical finger fusions around 14 years old. In 2002 I had my first joint replacement in all 4 knuckles on my left hand. I just had two knuckles replaced on my right hand. Even both thumbs are fused.

Strangely, despite the hand problems (only ten joints out of 30, including two knuckles are NOT fused or replaced) I have never had constant hand pains. I do very detailed work with my hands. They may not be very strong or pretty but they do the job!
Katie, I would also like to see the puppet show! LOL

[QUOTE=Sweetpea]I guess I feel the OA is possible because it doesn't sound like many people have deformity with RA. I have seen so many people with OA and deformity. Just wondered if you could have both?[/QUOTE]

Yes, the effects of rheumatoid arthritis can cause osteoarthritis or you could just have both. I think joint deformity is most common in RA, not OA.

Some of the same finger deformities can occur in both diseases though.

I think hands are one of the strangest places where people differ in RA and OA. For instance, I have a lot of pain in my hands, but you rarely can see any swelling. For the most part, they look normal. But I am definitely losing my dexterity and my once beautiful writing is almost unrecognizable. It is difficult to do things on the computer and to draw by hand which as an artist is scary.

Yet, from what I read here, many of you have a lot of swelling, deformity and physical changes -- yet, some of  you have little pain.

This is a strange, strange disease.

Loved the finger puppets though.

I too have a deformity on just about every finger I have. I was DXed with JRA at 18 months old. I went into remission for 4 years. But it seems that was the time of when I got my very distinct finger deformities. I also got some new ones with this last bout of active RA. Now, no finger has been left normal.

I even have decreased bone density in my right hand and you can see it.

I would post some pics if ya'll would like to see. They are not bad bad, just hands are getting harder and harder to use.

My hands swell and I am so saddened by it... I feel very sad... I am mourning my life  and I sometimes want to end it.. I am saddened by this disease and he toll it takes on ... It is not fair.

Yeah beccy, I know it's not fair. I have been battling this disease pretty much my whole life. I was diagnosed at 18 months old and I'm 29 years old now. With the exception of being in remission from about 3 years old til 8 years old, I have had to deal with this everyday of my life. My hands used to get swelled up, and so did pretty much every other joint in my body. My knees were pretty swollen when I was a kid. They looked like big softballs or something. Around the time I was about 10 or 11 years old, I became extremely depressed. I probably felt just as bad as you do now, maybe worse. My parents actually sent me to a shrink because they knew how depressed I was and probably thought I was suicidal. I never really "did" anything mostly because I didn't want to hurt my family. If they hadn't been there for me, then I might not be here today. I felt utterly hopeless. I didn't know how I could carry on with my life if the pain and joint damage continued the way it was. I didn't like myself very much. I hated the way I looked. I hated not being able to do the things other kids could do. I hated the way I felt and hated the world in general. I thought that my life would never amount to anything and thought I would be better off dead. I was "mourning" just like you. But I kept on fighting and somewhere along the way, my sadness and depression turned to anger and determination. I WAS NOT GOING TO LET THIS DAMN DISEASE BEAT ME! And my attitude started to change. I realized that things weren't so bad. Sure, I couldn't run, and play sports, or ride my bike anymore, but there were a lot of other fun things I could do. I really liked playing video games, reading, drawing, and I REALLY LOVED movies and music. Anything that would take my mind of the pain, anyway I could forget the world and just  escape into my own imagination.

And the bottom line is this: no matter how bad things seem, they could always be worse. And there ARE people out there in much worse shape than you or me. I have seen them. When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time in hospitals and saw kids with horrible problems. Saw kids dying of cancer, saw kids with MD, kids that were paralized from the neck down. Saw one kid who had his arm all carved up by a chainsaw. And one time, I had a room mate in a hospital who was burned over 90% of his body because his mom put an aresol can on a stove and it caused an explosion. But you know what amazed me? What amazed me was how hopeful all these kids were. How possitve and upbeat they were. And how HAPPY they were. So when ever I start feeling down, or sorry for myself, I think of those kids and how small my problems are in comparison.

Now I don't know how bad your arthritis is, or how old you are, but I can tell you this, your situation isn't as bad as you think. I'm not going to lie to you. It can get worse, and probably will, but it can definitely get better. You just have to hang in there and fight. GET MAD, not sad. Medical technology is always improving. I am at a point right now where my pain isn't very bad at all anymore, and my joints aren't really getting worse. My RD actually thinks I may either be in remission, or might have finally "grown out of it". But the damage has already been done. I have many joints that are completely locked up and fused together, mostly in my fingers and a couple of vertebrea in my neck. But I have had my hips replaced and can walk much better than I could as a kid. And I recently had my elbows replaced (which is something they couldn't do until about 10 years ago). I am currently looking into other surgical options for my hands, and thinking about getting my kness done. And there are other treatments on the horizon. There is someone on here who had thier RA almost CURED through an experimental stem cell treament, and they are even working on finding a way to use stem cells from your own body to repair damaged joints.

So like I said, I don't know what your situation is exactly, but I do know this: your life is worth living, and eventually things will get better. When I was a kid, I  thought by the time I was 30 that I wouldn't be able to walk, take care of myself, or function in life. I thought I would never meet a girl, fall in love, get my own place, or have a life in general. But now, at the age of 29, I can walk much better now, take care of myself just fine, made it through high school, got my associates degree in college, get paid for doing what I love (which is playing music) and currently live in my own appartment with my fiance who I am totally in love with and she loves me back. So hang in there and NEVER GIVE UP HOPE! If you ever need someone to talk to, there are plenty of people here who will listen to you and help you out in any way they can. People like me.

Keep you chin up,


Yeah, it is a bad disease but don't let it break your spirit.   I have deformity in all my fingers.  My left thumb still looks "normal".  But it is all ok!  I am still trucking along and will continue to do what it takes to keep up my spirit. 

Hey! There seems to be a lot of JRA'er's on here now. Man, before I was feeling out of place back in the day. Felt like I was the only JRA'er. Even though I knew there were a couple on here from when I was really active on this board. I kinda felt like an outcast.

Good to see you fellow JRA'er's!!