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"Why are my fingers swollen every morning when I wake up?"


When I was 18 I worked as a t-shirt screen printer. The problem started at that time, since I used my hands repeatedly for the same job, all day. I am now 34 and still have the same problem. Some times my hands are even swollen shut into a fist. I take Glucosamine every day for other pain throughout my body. I am thinking this could be carpal tunnel, arthritis (family history) or fibromyalgia. I am a stay-at-home mom and the problem seems to be worse after I have done things such as yard work, using my hands alot. Sometimes there is pain associated with the swelling.


Your symptoms sound like they are interfering with your life. Your problems sound like they could be a type of arthritis. For example, rheumatoid arthritis causes stiffness, pain, and sometimes swelling that is worse in the morning and works its way out throughout the day.

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Repetitive actions can also worsen the symptoms. Your symptoms do not sound much like osteoarthritis, another common type. Osteoarthritis typically happens in patients older than 34 and does not cause that much swelling. Glucosamine is sometimes taken by patients for osteoarthritis. Very recent studies have indicated that glucosamine may not help much with arthritis, but it probably won't hurt you either. Just make sure your doctor knows that you are taking it. I do not think that your problem is carpal tunnel, as swelling is not a typical symptom. Fibromyalgia is possible, but this should only be considered after all other possibilities have been ruled out. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with a rheumatologist. He or she will be able to take a more in depth history or your symptoms and determine what additional testing is needed. Most likely, you will need imaging of your hands and blood tests to test for rheumatoid arthritis. I hope you feel better soon.

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