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Maitland Chiropractor: Potential Causes for Swelling of One Hand

Some potential causes for swelling of one hand (asymmetric swelling):  Systemic causes include early-onset RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis), OA (osteoarthritis), polymyalgia rheumatica, sarcoidosis, Kawasaki and Takayasu diseases, and psoriatic and juvenile arthritis. Rheumatoid factor-seronegative disease is associated with inflammatory bowel disease, ankylosing spondylitis (AS), lupus, scleroderma, and dermatomyositis. Infectious arthritis can result from surgical or gastrointestinal infection, rheumatic fever, gonorrhea, tuberculosis, endocarditis, Lyme disease, intravenous drug use, or RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) in the setting of immunosuppression; metabolic arthritis can be due to gout/pseudogout, hemochromatosis, hemoglobinopathies, bone metastasis, and Gaucher or Farber disease. The primary concern with monoarticular (affecting one joint) arthritis is ruling out a septic (infectious) joint, which can lead to septicemia or irreversible destruction of joint/bone within days. Although it most often affects large joints, septic (infectious) arthritis can occur in the joints of the hand. A single hot, swollen joint needs to be aspirated (fluid sampled from joint with syringe), because it should be considered a septic (infectious) joint until proven otherwise.

If you think you have infectious arthritis seek urgent medical attention from the Emergency Room, Urgent Care or your Primary Care Physician.  Infectious arthritis can lead to irreversible destruction of the joint/bone within days and/or lead to systemic (full body/blood) infection.


Medscape:  Notable Knuckles, Part 2: Evaluating More Arthritides of the Hand by Robert I. Fox, MD, PhD; October 25, 2012.
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