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22 Responses to “Can Bones Hurt? Bone Pain and Rheumatoid Disease”

    1. I am printing this out to take to my Rheumatologist next week! I have been saying this for months. My bones constantly hurt and yes I have joint pain but the bones ache so much that has become secondary. I was diagnosed with Felty’s Syndrome in 2011 but they said I had it for a very long time undiagnosed. I will get sharp pains or sometimes just aching in the middle of my shins and also my forearms.

      • Sally says:

        The only way to tell if you have bone oedema is by MRI. Many rheumatologists STILL have not caught up with the research on advanced imaging and RA. MRI is the standard of care in many areas of Europe. North America continues to lag behind Europe by at least 10 to 20 years in rheumatology care especially in the use of ultrasound and MRI.

        A rheumatologist cannot determine the cause of bone pain without doing an MRI. They cannot determine inflammation or many types of pathology accurately without performing ultrasound or MRI. There are at least 100 research articles on the superiority of ultrasound of MRI on detecting damage caused by RA. PLEASE insist on having an MRI of at least the dominant hand and wrist. It is common now to have MRI of both hands and feet for diagnosis and to track disease activity. Other joints that may be involved or are concerning can also be imaged.

    2. I know how much it hurts after surgery on the bones of the hands and feet, and how long it takes for that type of bone pain to diminish.
      Now I am at the stage where there is damage to my joints and most of the pain I report is dismissed as mechanical pain, since there is no swelling and inflammation. I get the message that it doesn’t matter to the Dr. and I will just have to deal with it.
      That’s likely not the way he feels or the message he intends to give me but that’s the way I take it when no solution is offered

    3. Mandy W says:

      Kelly, I’m sorry to hear about your fracture. I’ve heard rib fractures can be very painful and hard to deal with. I hope you’re on the mend. As for bones, yes, mine hurt sometimes. Especially the ankle bones. It can be a very deep pain if that makes sense. My Rheumy did some X-rays and didn’t find anything (of course). She just prescribed gabapentin and sent me on my way. Don’t get me wrong, she a fantastic doctor but sometimes she just shrugs at my different symptoms. I’m sero-negative and just happy she believes me and treats me anyway. It worries me though to think there could be damage happening to my bones and nothing being done about it.

      • Sally says:

        Mandy, there are now many research articles that show that x-rays are pretty much obsolete in rheumatology care. These articles show that x-rays do not show the damage that is caused by RA in soft tissues. X-rays don’t show bone damage (erosions of the surface of the bones) for at least one to two years AFTER it has occurred. Using x-rays in rheumatology can actually be harmful because doctors assume there is nothing wrong (a false negative) when an ultrasound or MRI will show damage of the bones as well as soft tissue. PLEASE insist on an MRI of at least your dominant hand and wrist as well as any other area that is concerning.

    4. Peggy Kendall says:

      Unfortunately, I believe you have to have experienced the pain of RA/RD to fully understand what we go through. Doctors can’t truly relate… no one can! I’ve had severe RA 21 years, nothing has worked. When I try to walk in my small condo, I am aware of all my bones, because they hurt. I feel like a struggling skeleton . How many healthy people can say, I can feel the pain in my bones ? RA’s do!
      Wishing Kelly and all warriors strength as we live each day.

    5. Laura says:

      All I know is that I wake up every day with deep bone pain. Mainly in my feet/ankles. It can also be in my spine. It’s not just joint pain. I am constantly telling everyone my legs hurt, but no one seems to do anything about it.

    6. Leslie says:

      How could it be assumed that bone, which contains marrow & blood vessels, doesn’t contain nerves? I had a knee replacement 4 months ago to fix a 20 degree valgus deformity (thanks RD). The pain associated with the surgery was almost laughable compared with the pain of the “old” knee & the one that is yet to be done. There’s no question that bones can hurt. Next time, maybe the researchers could just listen to us when they’re looking for information. Unless they’re worried that our “low pain thresholds” would affect the study…

    7. Sally says:

      No one with RA needs to suffer in silence without adequate explanations of what is going on in the joints. There are advanced imaging tests (power doppler ultrasound and MRI) that are far superior to a simple joint exam or x-ray.

      One of the best researchers in the world, in my humble opinion, on the use of advanced imaging in rheumatology is Dr. Fiona McQueen from New Zealand. She has conducted research and published widely. Here is a link to her most recent publication on the use of MRI in rheumatology and why it is superior to other types of imaging. She clearly explains all of the pathology that can be seen on MRI related to our rheumatoid disease. We are far beyond simply accepting that doctors poke around on our joints, take an x-ray, and send us home without an adequate explanation of what is going on or reasonable treatment.

      For the use of ultrasound in rheumatology, probably one of the best researchers in the world is Dr. Richard Wakefield at Leeds in the UK. He is involved in the Targeted Ultrasound Initiative and has published widely on the topic, as well.

    8. Ms. M says:

      Oh yes, my bones hurt!! Sometimes more than the joints. My doc can poke at my joints and I have to explain the pain is deep inside, not at the surface.

    9. Melinda says:

      Being Sero-negative and not showing any related disease activity in my blood, I will not stand for my doctor to just say that my xray results are normal. I’ve had a MRI of my foot five years ago, where bone edema was identified. At the time, nothing was said about that finding, and I did not know the significance till I read this article. I recently insisted on a MRI of my hand and wrist, after xrays were normal and found synovial fluid thickening at my knuckles and a cyst were bone had erroded in my hand. I have some noticeable swelling, but not significant as compared to the level of pain that my hand brings me on a daily basis. And this is not my dominant hand. By pushing my Rheumatologist to perform these tests, I’ve moved him past the struggling through Methotrexate (with no relief) and on to my first Biologic. If something hurts, don’t be satisfied with your xrays are normal. Pain is there for a reason and without treating what is truly causing the pain, how will it ever get better?

    10. Rebecca Richard says:

      Thanks for this Kelly, and thanks for all the responses, I have been off my Xeljanz for about 5 weeks now, because my blood counts got low. I have been in a horrible flare for the past 6 days or so. I always forget how much the meds help until I have to stop them. Ouch!! I have been saying for days “my bones hurt!” not just my joints, but bones. These other comments helped me so much. My Rhuemy moved way so I have to go to a new one soon, I am so afraid she might simply look at my negative blood work and dismiss me as crazy. Pray she listens. Gentle hugs to all

    11. Jan says:

      My RA progressed a few years ago (I’ve had it 30 years) and every muscle in my body hurt and was sensitive to touch. And I had deep unrelenting pain in my bones. I seriously thought I had I diagnosed cancer with bone metastases. I had no idea that RA would cause such pain. And I had doctors try to pin a fibromyalgia diagnosis on me. But when I started taking my Enbrel more regularly (yes I had a medication phobia), the muscle and bone pain lessened.

    12. Jan says:

      Oops…that was supposed to read: an undiagnosed cancer!

    13. aleah says:

      I was not sure where I could post this. I’ve suffered with what I think is joint pain for few years. My pain is in feet, ankles, knees, hips and hands. I tested slightly positive for RA and also inflamation. Got a referral for a rhumatologist. Went to see a different regular pcm today and she said she dose not think I have RA. Because my joints don’t hurt when she pokes and pride them from the outside and when she moves my joints all around. My pain is internal…deep inside. She prescribed PT and pain meds
      Also I do have a family history of RA. Is she righy though? I am only 32

    14. Angela says:

      Yes they can hurt!! The only way I can describe the pain was that it felt like someone holding hot fire pokers to them especially if a weather front was moving through..

    15. Kathleen says:

      I’ve been telling my rheumatologist my spine hurts. He says, “RA doesn’t affect the spine.” Really? Then he tells me my SED rate is in the high end of the normal range, so it’s not the RA. Guess I complained enough about pain over the past year that he finally sent me for a nuclear bone scan. (It’s not a bone density scan, but a radioactive substance is injected and a gamma ray camera takes pics.) It showed degenerative bones in my spine, knees, shoulders and feet. My bones hurt! It doesn’t matter what the doc says. I now have proof. When the nurse called me with the results she said, “Wow, no wonder you’re in pain.” It’s frustrating getting through to the doc sometimes, but your bone pain is real.

      • Kathleen, thanks for sharing. Glad you got it and someone to read it correctly.

        For anyone reading Kathleen’s comment:
        Bones can hurt. RD does affect the spine. And nuclear bones are a real thing.
        All 3 of those things are often doubted by doctors. It’s not hocus pocus or patients exaggerating – it’s science.

        Here are 7 posts on nuclear bone scans on RAW.

    16. Tony says:

      Since all of started and I was diagnosed in 2014 I have experienced deep rib pain. I have had bone scans and various other tests for cancer but the docs refuse to say it is RD related. Thanks for this article

    17. JM says:

      I know of what most of you are talking about… sadly. Now that the weather is getting colder and still wet outside, my bones just ache!!!
      It took quite a bit of complaining that my bones hurt… I also have Fibromyalgia and the dr kept trying to say it was my muscles… I know the difference between my muscles and my bones.
      Now trying to find something that will help…

    18. Diane Melemans says:

      My right hip bone hurts – the pain continues underneath my belly. Can the pain underneath my belly button be from arthritis? I have gone thru numerous tests and they all came out just fine.

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