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My feet, legs, and joints are stiff in the morning why?

By February 14, 2009 - 7:11am
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Wow I am having nearly the same condition. My feet, legs, and knees hurt all the time. But it is worse in the morning, and I am stiff as a board when I get out of bed. It does gradually get better throughout the day. I am 5'6 160lbs. But it always still hurts, when I sit or stand in one position for more than 15minutes it gets worse. My muscles tighten, they become stiff. I can't walk down stairs (I can go up, my knees just make creeking sounds). This all started last May, when my right knee swelled up really big (no injury) then fluid traveled all over in my leg, mostly the way gravity took it, to my ankle. I had no insurance at then time, so I had some crutches at home from my Grandfather, I used those because I couldn't walk. It took a week or do for the swelling to go away. I was scheduled to be out of country in July for a month visiting family, so I went even with my leg bothering me (I could walk again at this point). I was there two weeks and got Shingles, I flew home with it and got trated for it. I still can't walk well, and all of my "old" injuries hurt too, like my pinky finger I broke in 4th grade. I strech still daily, and exercise even though it is extremely painful. It hurts so bad I developed a jaw clinching thing I do it constantly, that hurts too (but not nearly as bad). Any ideas of what the heck is going on with my body? Oh I forgot to mention I went to an orthopedic surgeon, and he told me to lose some weight, he sent me for an xray of my right leg, since that is where it all started, and I haven't been back. The xray was negative.

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EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hi, Im JenB, and giving everyone an update. It turns out that I have Rhuematoid Arthritis (RA), that was established by blood work. My bloodwork showed that I had high levels of inflamation in my blood, which could be caused by several factors. But after finding an AMAZING doctor, who actually sat and reviewed my medical history, for like two hours plus, he had a great suspicion that I had RA. Before, I was diagnosed, my stiffness progressed so much that I couldn't walk. Much to my relief, I take Simponi (monthly shot), and Methotrexate (weekly pills), and I had the most incrediable turn-around. I am now in my 9th week of P90X, and in great shape, and I am at the weight I like. I was really not too overweight anyway, maybe 20 lbs or so. So, I am not telling anyone that they may have RA, but PLease Please Please get to a doctor that is willing to sit down and talk with you and not rush you out the door. If you have to wait more than 20 min in the waiting room, get up and leave, that doctor has no time management. I learned when you make an apppointment with a New doctor, they should block out at least two hours for just YOU! My doctor is in Houston, Dr. Christopher Finnila... BEST DOCTOR EVER! I hope that anyone reading this will take the time to understand what a ailes you, and get help. Good Luck everyome and don't give up!

March 4, 2011 - 2:41pm
EmpowHER Guest

Thank you so much for the information, anonymous. It appears that most of the time, exercise will help most ailments and pains. Thank you for sharing your story and success.

February 7, 2010 - 9:48am
EmpowHER Guest

For the past 2 years, I have been doing aquasize as I had a sore leg. I have been to the doctor and as they couldn't find any other reason, they said it was arthritis. I just wanted to report that after doing the water exercise for 2 years 3-4 times a week for 1 hour each, I almost never have the pain in my leg...except as a precursor to bad weather. But it really has improved so I am a believer in water therapy. I have really done nothing else but when I miss swimming for a couple of weeks, I know it. Hope this helps someone.

February 7, 2010 - 7:22am
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Hi Anon - After reading your post I can certainly understand your frustration from experiencing pain for so long, seeing several doctors and still not having a clear diagnosis or treatment prograam.

One reason for this may be that there are more than 100 forms of arthritis. The symptoms can overlap and make it hard to diagnose the exact type of arthritis. What is clear though, is that if you do have a form of arthritis it's really important to get the right treatment to prevent irreversible damage to the joints, bones, and organs.

The process of figuring out whether a person has arthritis, and finding the type of arthritis they have, can be difficult. A single symptom or a single test result is not enough to diagnose arthritis. Symptom patterns and tests are usually used to rule out specific types of arthritis. It can be an arduous process when you want quick answers.

Blood tests can be a helpful diagnostic tool, but when used alone they may not provide information that can lead to a definitive diagnosis. The patient's full clinical picture and medical history has to be evaluated, along with the blood tests, to
develop the correct diagnosis.

Since you're mentioned rheumatoid arthritis twice, I'm going to provide a link that will give you in-depth information about that condition so you can compare that information against your personal experience.


I'm also going to provide information on osteoarthritis which is the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. This is followed by chronic inflammation of the joint lining. Healthy cartilage is a cushion between the bones in a joint. Osteoarthritis usually affects the hands, feet, spine, hips, and knees. People with osteoarthritis usually have joint pain and limited movement of the affected joint.


It sounds like you're not happy with the information from the two rheumatologists you've seen. Do you have a primary care physician? It may be helpful to work with that physician to review the findings from the other physicians and your test results in order to determine the correct diagnosis or to refer you to a different specialist to help you get the correct diagnosis.

Will you let us know what you decide to do, and the outcome?
Take good care,

January 5, 2010 - 6:22pm
EmpowHER Guest

I started with swelling on top of my left hand... Thought it was an injury! I had been cleaning for a company (due to hubby being layed off). Went to Hand spec, did xray said it was (neg), did blood work sed rate was 30. Sent me to Rheummie. Did MIR & every test possible for RA.. ALL TEST NEG. EVERY ONE OF THEM! MRI showed POSSIBLE rice bodies on top of hand w/tendinitis... His response... RA u need to take Metho ect... named off many meds. I said NO WAY! Show me PROFF of RA? Give me a blood test that shows I have it. First blood test was in april. Next ones (same ones) were done in Nov. No change, oh ya my sed rate was 25 now. STILL pain. Now the other hand has started to hurt a little NO swelling, and the tops of my feet & ankles hurt sometimes as well. I have flat feet though... and could stand to loose 25 lbs. Maybe that would help.

My NEW Rheummie says he doesnt see the RA, because I dont get stiffness to where I cant move in the AM just hurts for 1min than goes away. Same with my hands... they feel like ive hand water retention in them but open and close for a second and they are better too. They feel throbbing at times during the day but not STIFF. He's checked my range of motion and all seems well! I'm SOOO confused! My left top of my hand now has a bump on it when I make a fist. Its located near the outside of my hand. I think thats where he said I has a "dislocation of the Ulnar tendon" I got a Cortizone shot in nov. for that side of my hand and it feels better on the ouside but still hurts on top. Throbs!

What do I do... Ive been to a natural dr. who even put me on diff types of vitamins ect... It hasnt changed much. I just want proof of a diagnosis and meds to heal it!


January 4, 2010 - 9:20pm
EmpowHER Guest

I posted on this topic a few weeks ago and just wanted to give an update. I ended up spending a week in hospital and they discovered a lump on my kidney and smaller ones in my lungs. They think I have an autoimmune disease, but waiting for one more result to confirm. It looks like it is causing inflammation all over my body, hence the joint pain and runny nose.

I think it is better for people to go to their GP and find out what's going on, rather than trying to solve the problem themselves.


January 3, 2010 - 6:21pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for updating us!

We all agree...these online discussions are excellent avenues for women to either: a) research their symptoms and compare stories with other women before going for a medical evaluation, so they are prepared with information, or b) collaborate after seeing the doctor to compare notes, symptoms, treatment options and ask additional follow-up questions with others in similar situations.

The discussion threads should not be used in lieu of a visit with one's doctor!

Thanks---I'm glad you were able to go to the doctor, and hopefully find an underlying cause and treatment options.

Please let us know if you have any questions about autoimmune diseases, and what you find out from your doctor...we are happy to help you continue your research into the best options for you.

Take care!

January 3, 2010 - 7:38pm
EmpowHER Guest

I use to have a similar condition and I wonder if one of the causes is too much caffeine.
I also think that my condition with sore joints in the hands and feet was related to the nutra sweet in diet pop. My suggestion is to quit drinking diet pop and see what happens. If you do not drink diet pop at all, then maybe cut down on coffee consumption. I hope things work out for you.

December 30, 2009 - 6:01pm
EmpowHER Guest

If you haven't done so already, do a food challenge. I did and found that eliminating wheat and yeast get rid of 99% of my symptoms. It's a tough process figuring out what does you in, but definately worth it. I'm only taking the occasional advil nowwhen I've cheated on my diet. Prior to this, I was in pain all the time, even with frequent pain meds.

December 24, 2009 - 1:14am
(reply to Anonymous)


What a wonderful outcome you've had to your food challenge. Did you do this with your doctor? How long did it take you to work through the entire challenge?

Food challenges are also called elimination diets, where a person first eliminates all but the simplest foods from their diet and then slowly adds other foods back in to assess how each food affects their health. The challenges or elimination diets are also done when trying to figure out what people may be allergic to, for example.

Anon, has it been difficult to live without wheat and yeast?

December 28, 2009 - 8:27am
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