What Is Wrong With Me?

So my swollen, painful knee isn’t osteoarthritis.

I saw my GP in February as my knee was still painful and swollen. Along with painful, stiff elbows, fingers and a painful left eye. I’d had all of these symptoms since around Christmas time. Whilst it is normal for me to have a flare up after Christmas, it isn’t normal for me to have pain in those joints, or for the fatigue to last longer than 6 weeks after New Year.

My Mum and my brother have Ankylosing Spondylitis. I have all the symptoms. I am positive to HLA-B27. I was even diagnosed with it at one point. But that was revoked by another Rheumatologist to the one who gave me the diagnosis. My ESR is usually not raised and I have no radiological evidence of AS.

As my Mum also has Rheumatoid arthritis in her wrists and Hypothyroidism I was tested for those, along with the usual ESR and blood count.

I went to the next G.P appointment armed with a four page list of my past and present symptoms (typed on A4 paper), since my back injury.

I had done some research online for auto-immune diseases. Lupus stood out. I have a lot of the symptoms. Plus all of my flare ups over the years included symptoms which may have been Lupus. My G.P was happy to test me for the antibodies for Lupus. I will get the results next Tuesday.  If they are negative it may possibly be Sjorgren’s Syndrome or Behcett’s Disease. But one step at a time.

I experience the rash associated with Lupus.

rash on cheeks

The skin on my arm also has a rash.

This rash has been on my arm for 5 months

I will patiently wait for the blood test results on Tuesday.

I Have Osteoarthritis Too!??

I’ve had pain with my joints since 2003, following the fall I had in 2001. Eventually when Ben was in Year 9 we were both diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Ever since then I have put all my joint pain down to having lax tendons and ligaments.

Around ten years ago I experienced pain in the back of my knees when I’d done any walking more than just popping round to the corner shop (which is about 100 yards away). I also noticed swelling at the back of my knees. My doctor diagnosed Baker Cysts. I continue to experience these symptoms every time I walk any distance over 100 yards. I just ignore it.

Around five years ago I noticed pain along the side of my knees when walking up the stairs. This has always been more noticeable a few days before a period. Again, I put it down to EDS, as the increased levels of progesterone were making my lax joints even more lax. Soon after originally noticing the pain, my knee would ‘give way’ at the top two or three stairs. I never saw a doctor for this as I don’t make appointments for pain where the cause is easy to pin-point and self management is able to deal with the issue. I did mention it when I saw a Rheumatologist for a flare up of back pain (which had spread to my thoracic spine). There was no redness or swelling in my knees, so he wasn’t concerned. Because of this I carried on and dealt with the pain when I had it. Usually by using the leg with less pain to get up the stairs. The pain was only on going up the stairs at this point and didn’t require pain relief.

Last November I woke up one morning to find my left knee was quite swollen. I did experience pain for a couple of days before whilst going up the stairs, as my period was due. My daughter and I were shopping that day. The pain gradually became worse through the day. I bought a support bandage. It was a busy day, I managed to get the support bandage on and put my leg up around 7 or 8pm. Over the following days I made sure to put my knee up through the day, whilst trying to pace with it, to get some movement in. I also did some knee stretches through the day.

swollen knee with Osteoarthritis

The following week I had an appointment with one of the doctors for the referral to the Gynae clinic for the polyp on my cervix to be removed. I mentioned my swollen knee to her, remembering that I hear a grinding sound in them when I walk upstairs. She asked what my concern was with it. I had wondered if it was osteoarthritis. She agreed that it probably was. My right knee is a little swollen too, but not as bad as the left knee and the pain I experience in that is only niggly pain. The doctor said osteoarthritis can be very painful. It may improve and flare up at times, or it may gradually get worse. I think mine is the latter. My knees have gradually swollen to where they are now. Unfortunately my left knee became more swollen quite quickly. I thought it was due to the cold weather we had. However, the weather has warmed up, but my knee has remained the same. The pain gets worse depending on activity. Eventually I will have the liquid drawn out and steroid injected into the knee. The doctor said this would be after months of having the swollen, painful knee.

 

MY KNEE OSTEOARTHRITIS SYMPTOMS: 

  1.  Pain with increased activity.
  2. Stiffness with inactivity such as in the morning after waking up and after a car journey.
  3. Pain on kneeling down: I am unable to kneel on my left knee.
  4. My knee gives way:  i) Walking up the stairs. ii) Whilst bending to sit down or stand up. iii) On standing still for too long.
  5. Swollen knee.
  6. My knees both make a grinding sound.

I now deal with these symptoms every day.