Discussions By Condition: Medical Errors

Not Heberden's nodes?

Posted In: Medical Errors 5 Replies
  • Posted By: ruby2zdy
  • May 21, 2009
  • 05:58 AM

About 10 or so years ago, the distal joint of my left middle finger began to swell up and hurt like a SOB. It was swollen and painful for over a year, then the pain began to go away, and then the swelling went away. It now looks normal, and doesn't feel like it has arthritis. Then the same things happened to my right little finger. After the swelling went down, there was what I thought was a bone spur left. However, I found out that I could make the spur "go away" by pushing down on it. It would come back after 10 min. or so. Then I got this condition in my left little finger, my right middle finger, and my left index finger, and I can feel the left index distal joint beginning to hurt & it's swollen a little. It takes a long time for the swelling to go away. I still have little knobs on my right middle finger, but can make them "go away" too by pressing on them.

The description I found of Heberden's nodes says the swelling it painless, it's caused by arthritis, with the inflammation causing bone spurs.

But if I can make them disappear (hide out elsewhere) by pressing on them, then they're not bone spurs. And my swellings have definitely NOT been painless.

Any idea what I have? I speculate that the swellings are gel-filled cysts since I can get them to go away for a while by pressing on them. I also feel that if they are gel-filled cysts, they could be removed.

I need a hand doctor's opinion on this. Definitely had PAIN. And the nodes are "soft", or at least pushable.

I also had something similar in my R thumb, whole joint swole up, and X-ray showed a bone spur had grown out to the medial side (palms to the back), then curved back toward my hand. So this is definitely a bone spur. However, it hurt like ***l, and interferes with my writing, so is it a Heberden's node or not?

Anybody?

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  • About 10 or so years ago, the distal joint of my left middle finger began to swell up and hurt like a SOB. It was swollen and painful for over a year, then the pain began to go away, and then the swelling went away. It now looks normal, and doesn't feel like it has arthritis. Then the same things happened to my right little finger. After the swelling went down, there was what I thought was a bone spur left. However, I found out that I could make the spur "go away" by pushing down on it. It would come back after 10 min. or so. Then I got this condition in my left little finger, my right middle finger, and my left index finger, and I can feel the left index distal joint beginning to hurt & it's swollen a little. It takes a long time for the swelling to go away. I still have little knobs on my right middle finger, but can make them "go away" too by pressing on them. The description I found of Heberden's nodes says the swelling it painless, it's caused by arthritis, with the inflammation causing bone spurs. But if I can make them disappear (hide out elsewhere) by pressing on them, then they're not bone spurs. And my swellings have definitely NOT been painless. Any idea what I have? I speculate that the swellings are gel-filled cysts since I can get them to go away for a while by pressing on them. I also feel that if they are gel-filled cysts, they could be removed.I need a hand doctor's opinion on this. Definitely had PAIN. And the nodes are "soft", or at least pushable.I also had something similar in my R thumb, whole joint swole up, and X-ray showed a bone spur had grown out to the medial side (palms to the back), then curved back toward my hand. So this is definitely a bone spur. However, it hurt like ***l, and interferes with my writing, so is it a Heberden's node or not?Anybody?What have you found out between May and now, the end of September? I'm experiencing a similar situation in my two pinky fingers and now my left thumb. My doctor says these are Heberden's nodes and there's nothing that can be done about them. Certainly there must be something that can be done. I've never seen a Hollywood star with Heberden's nodes, if that's in fact what they are.Lynn
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • September 25, 2009
    • 04:06 AM
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  • What have you found out between May and now, the end of September? I'm experiencing a similar situation in my two pinky fingers and now my left thumb. My doctor says these are Heberden's nodes and there's nothing that can be done about them. Certainly there must be something that can be done. I've never seen a Hollywood star with Heberden's nodes, if that's in fact what they are.LynnHi, Lynn.I recently saw a hand surgeon, who agreed that residual bumps from Heberden's are not always bone spurs. They're cysts and can be removed, as can any bone spurs that you may have. Of course, the spurs may come back, but it could be 3 months or 15 years, so I think it's worth a gamble. I don't think this should be done during the inflammatory period and I doubt if you could find a hand surgeon who'd do it during that period (although it's worth a try for science). I'd love to see a Heberden's node cut open during the painful period to try to find out what's going on in there. I'd een volunteer.We didn't talk about the pain, but I think the person who wrote the article saying they're not painful was full of sh*t.During the inflammation stage, the only thing I know of that helps is a cortisone shot into the joint. It lasts about 3 months. Maybe this is what movie stars do. I don't know what would happen if you kept getting them injected -- whether the inflammation would finally give up or would just wait till you got tired of having your joints injected. I do know that continuous exposure to cortisone will eat your bones. I don't agree that Heberden's always ends in arthritis. None of my "finished" Heberden's joints hurts.I'm now getting it in my L ring finger, my R index finger, and my R ring finger. The only digit left is my L thumb. For some reason, it's persisting in my R thumb & interferes with writing. I'm testing a hypothesis that pressing on the developing nodes in my ring finger could keep bumps from forming. I also have dePuytren's contracture (better for you to look this up instead of my taking up space trying to explain it). :( I don't know whether people who've had Heberden's nodes, which is one of those inexplicable inflammatory conditions, are more prone to get dePuytren's contracture, another inexplicable inflammatory condition in the hand, but it's good to look out for it (a mysterious bump in the palm, sometimes difficulty bringing your finger back to a normal position after bending it). There are cures for dePuytren's (if you get it, look for a doctor who uses needle aponeurotomy. The other technique involves making lots of cuts into your palm & fingers to remove the fascia, so you end up with lots of scars, which can cause problems themselves as they shrink). My fingers aren't bent yet. I stretch them back twice a day. It's said that this doesn't always work. The hand surgeon said to come back if my fingers begin tightening. So far I can loosen the tightness by stretching them back.Let me know if you have any other questions.ruby2zdy
    ruby2zdy 2 Replies
    • September 26, 2009
    • 08:18 PM
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  • I forgot. I'm trying Solaraze gel (diclofenac sodium 3%) on my nodes, but I only remember to do it when they hurt. I should do it 3X a day. It's an NSAID (only available by Rx). It's normally used to treat actinic keratoses, but an NSAID is an NSAID -- it reduces inflammation. There's another, lesser (1%) strength of diclofenac sodium called Voltaren that your doctor may try to Rx but you should insist on Solaraze. I tried Voltaren on my knee pain and it wasn't strong enough but Solaraze is. It's a gel, so dries quickly.Good luck.ruby2zdy
    ruby2zdy 2 Replies
    • September 26, 2009
    • 09:17 PM
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  • Sixteen years ago, at about 50 years of age, I suddenly had pain from neck to toes. Docs told me that arthritis would be my major health issue, so I began research. When people stop eating all foods OA disappears. So, I went on a 7 day Sonne's fast and all pain was gone. After much trial and error as I added foods back I discovered that the following foods cause me joint pain, including Heberden's nodes on both hands: wheat, dairy, carrots, lemons, soy, SAFFLOWER OIL, and, most recently, chicken. I don't know about turkey. I'm afraid to try it. Also, stearic acid, which is used in tablets and some capsules will cause inflammation and growth of the nodes within two hours of ingesting it. I capitalized safflower oil because the pain that triggers in the base of my thumb is like a hot spike in that joint. So, I maintain a careful diet without the above foods. I also use plenty of fish oil (8 caps a day), glucosomine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, turmeric, and bromelain. The pain in my thumb joint was so severe I went to a doctor (allopathic) and they x-rayed my hand and concluded that I have spurs in that thumb joint, as well as the distal joints of pointer, middle, and little fingers. These are the H. nodes. Found an alternative practitioner on internet and he advised me to take one cap of hydrangea root three times a day and one homeopathic pellet of calcarea carbonica once a day. He advised stopping the hydrangea root after a month and, if needed, start it after another month. The stuff is powerful and not intended to be used on a regular basis. He assured me this "always works" to eliminate bone spurs and kidney stones. Well, all I was hoping for was relief of the pain in my thumb, however, the Heberden's nodes I've had for sixteen years are disappearing!! I don't know if they will completely go away, but after just two weeks I almost have my old fingers back. Mind you, if I were eating those offending foods I am certain the nodes would begin appearing again. In fact, an eighth of a teaspoon of safflower oil a day would start that inflammatory process again. I won't even sit in the same room with that stuff. Care and blessings everyone.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • [The description I found of Heberden's nodes says the swelling it painless, it's caused by arthritis, with the inflammation causing bone spurs. I went to my MD years ago when these bumps started forming - left index and left thumb, right pinky. At that tim, just strange looking. Now those fingers are really starting to look odd. He had "no idea" what they were. Sent me for hand Xrays - said no evidence of OA - did RF lab then, negative. Funny thing is, the only one that hurts is the thumb. And I would describe it as a burning, tender pain. And only sometimes (just recently heard that OA often times hurts more when humid - will have to track that), I know when it is damp cold out it aches. My ROM in that thumb has becoming increasingly limited too.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
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