Joint Swelling Caused by MS?

by Beth
(San Jose, CA, USA)

Can joint swelling be caused by MS?


I have had MS for 18 years, and about 8 months ago I fell and injured my shoulder joint. Now my finger (pinky) on my right hand is bent and the joint very swollen. The entire hand/wrist was swollen.

I thought it was arthritis, but the reumatologist ruled it out after various tests. She put me on prednisone (30 mg) and that took care of the swelling in my hand and wrist but not on the joint of the bent finger.

They thought it might be related to the shoulder injury (on therapy for that), and they ran a nerve test which was negative. The doctor who ran the nerve test thinks it might be MS.

Could it be? Can MS cause joints to be swollen to the point of causing bent fingers?



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Oct 22, 2011
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Joint Pain in MS
by: Anonymous

Most joint pain in MS is a result of not walking correctly or abnormal balance. This results in hips and knees being pushed and pulled in the wrong direction. Over a long period of time, pain is caused by this awkward movement.

This is not a direct result of MS, however, but an indirect result of another multiple sclerosis symptom.

As far as as a shoulder injury causing bent fingers and joint pain and swelling, I'm sure this could probably happen. Your shoulders, arms, wrists, hands, and fingers, are all connected via tendons and nerves. I'm not sure why a doctor would think that it would be MS related though.

There are, of course, other indirect causes of pain when it comes to multiple sclerosis. I suppose if you have imbalance in one part of your body, that may cause imbalance in other parts as well. Your shoulders might be off because of the way you stand. You could try a chiropractor.

Trying to understand the connection, though, I suppose anything is possible. If you haven't had a second opinion, I might try that route. We will also ask Cir's doctor the next time he has an appointment, if and why a person with MS might have joint pain and swelling in their hands.

Cir has had pain in his hands, most likely because of MS problems. When the nerves leading to your arms and hands become affected, you may have movement problems. Whenever he sees an occupational therapist, Cir does dexterity tests which show how well he can move his fingers.

One hand, his left, works better than his right. This relates because his right side (mostly his right leg), does not work as well when it comes to walking. So we can see how his right hand is also a little slower than his left, and an little weaker as well.

The bent finger and the swelling... Cir has complained of swelling and joint pain in his ring finger. But that is his left hand (wedding ring). So, not sure about that either.

Maybe someone else has a similar problem or an answer to your question. And I didn't mention this before, but hopefully you have a good neurologist on your healthcare team.

We'll get back with you if we find out anything else.

Take care,
Akrista and Cir




Jan 12, 2012
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Swollen Finger
by: Anonymous

My sister has MS and recently had what they thought was a fungus infection on her finger. They removed her nail. She has been going to an infectious disease doctor and now he is not sure what it is. The finger is still swollen and starting to bend.??

Apr 30, 2013
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My hands are so bad!
by: Anonymous

I have had ms for 3 years and as I am writing this, my index finger left hand is so swollen it won't bend or anything. A few weeks back it was the pinky. Been tested for RA etc, nope. Haven't had an opportunity to talk with my neuro doc yet but sure plan to!!

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