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Babs Lemanski asked...

Could this be arthritis?

I have a couple of lumpy nodules on my index fingers and little finger. On waking in the morning two or three of my fingers are very stiff around the joints for a few minutes. I also sometimes wake with tingling and numbness in my fingers.

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The answer

The lumps you describe do sound like Bouchard’s nodes (found on the finger joints closest to the knuckle) or Heberden’s nodes (found on the joints further from the knuckles). The hands, along with the hips, knees and low back, are the joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis. Fortunately, having osteoarthritis doesn’t mean your symptoms will inevitably get worse. Heberden’s and Bouchard’s nodes rarely cause severe problems with using your hands and many patients have fairly mild symptoms which come and go without ever getting really bad. Keeping your weight down and regular exercise will help reduce your risk of osteoarthritis in other joints. There is some evidence that omega 3 supplements may help, and you might consider trying a rosehip supplement called GOPO.

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