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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
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Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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For several months now late at night and in the mornings both

Resolved Question:

For several months now late at night and in the mornings both my hands have become painful and the three sets of nuckles lock and make it painful to open my fingers straight. Is this a type of arthritis or could it be a side affect to medication. I take 1200 mg of gabapentin twice a day for nerve pain. I need help my GP says to take ibuprofen and I want more answers than that.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.
It will help if you could provide some further information:
When you say that the knuckles lock, does that mean that fingers are bent and cannot be straightened?
If so, can you straighten the knuckles using the other hand?
What dose and frequency of ibuprofen are you taking?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Fingers are bent and can be straighted with small amount of pressure.
400mg of ibuprofen periodically.
I fight with the idea of taking ibuprofen because of taking so much of it before having my back surgery s.
I only have one kidney, I took enough ibuprofen to choke a horse, I don't want to take it anymore for that reason.
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the additional information.

The problem that you are experiencing is more often a form of tendinitis, and the trapping of the fingers is a condition called trigger finger. Arthritis can commonly cause stiffness of the joints of the fingers, but typically does not cause them to lock, such as you describe. It is more common for locking to occur with tendinitis.

However, there should be some clarification of terminology. When we speak of arthritis, we speak can be speaking of both a disease process or a specific manifestation of that disease. Strictly speaking, arthritis means inflammation within a joint. But many of the diseases that we refer to as arthritis can also affect other musculoskeletal structures. For example, degenerative arthritis or osteoarthritis, which is due to wear and tear on the musculoskeletal system, will primarily be manifested as arthritis, but it also can be manifested as tendinitis (inflammation of a tendon) or bursitis (inflammation of a bursa).

In people with the trigger finger manifestation, it is most often due to degenerative arthritis, even though it is manifested as a tendinitis. Many people with tendinitis will also have inflammation within the joint, so it is common for both to be present. If you are having tenderness or swelling within a joint of the hand, then you probably also have arthritis as a manifestation.

Treatment of the problem is usually an anti-inflammatory medicine initially, as you doctor has recommended. However, you are correct that persons with only one kidney should be cautious in using ibuprofen. Taking the Tylenol dos not carry the same risk for the kidneys, but also does not directly relieve inflammation. It may help to apply moist heat to the hands several times per day. If the initial treatment does not achieve adequate improvement, it may help to use steroids for a short course, either orally or injected into the problem area (tendon or joint). Some people with severe or stubborn trigger finger may also benefit from surgery.

If you have any further questions, please let me know.

Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 13856
Experience: Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
Dr. D. Love and 5 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Without taking ibuprofen, do you think aspercream several times a day rubed into hands would help if it was tendonitis. Or what would you recommend, or maybe DMSO rudder into hands.

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.
Aspercreme is not very potent, so is not typically recommended for significant inflammation, but is OK to try. DMSO has not been shown to help with tendinitis.


If you want to avoid the oral anti-inflammatory, then there is a prescription topical anti-inflammatory that is more potent, such as Voltaren gel.

Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 13856
Experience: Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
Dr. D. Love and 5 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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Dr. D. Love
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Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.