Finger joint stiffness and pain (especially in the morning)

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Hello all, this is my first time posting here.  I am reaching out in desperation as I seem to have a problem that both my GP and Oncologist are clueless about.

I was diagnosed with metastatic PC at the end of 2022 after a biopsy and nuclear bone scan. They found enlarged paraaortic and aortocaval lymphadenopathy up to 30x43mm.  Multiple bone metastases with largest lesion in pelvic bones. Uptake in C7, T1, T2, T3, left pelvis and proximal right femur.
PSA results 990 & 981 a week apart.

I was told I had about 1 year to live without treatment, or 5-8 years with treatment.

My treatment was:

  • Bicalutamide 50mg tablets
  • Then Zoladex 3.6mg implant
  • Darolutamide (which I was on for about 8 months before my liver gave out and is still recovering)
  • Docetaxel Chemo (6 doses)
  • Bilateral Subcapsular Orchidectomy (this was my choice rather than staying on the Zoladex for the remainder of my life)
  • 6x 6y Radiotherapy

My treatment concluded in October 2023, although they want to put me on another androgen receptor inhibitor once my liver recovers from the injury from taking Darolutamide.

Starting sometime near the beginning of this year I woke up with stiffness in all of my fingers, it just suddenly started in both hands, and it would be painful to try to move them.  I had to very slowly make a fist in both hands which seemed to loosen them up and I was able to use them normally throughout the day.

Jump forward to now and my hands have gotten progressively worse.  Now I feel the joint pain all day and any time I haven't moved my fingers in a while (say 10 minutes) I have to slowly make a fist again otherwise any sudden movement causes a lot of pain.

This morning I was dreaming and it caused me to move one of my fingers suddenly with great pain, something I obviously have little control over when asleep.

I've been tested for Rheumatoid and Osteo arthritis, both came up negative.  I've had a frozen left shoulder for many months which I feel is somehow linked, but might be irrelevant.

Both my GP and Oncologist just default to "one of my treatments must have caused this" and have no idea on how I can treat it.  I am going to ask for acupuncture next.  My oncologist ruled out peripheral neuropathy as that is numbness/pins and needles and pain and not stiffness.

Has anyone else suffered from this issue with your hands and have any advice on what to do next?  I fear it will get gradually worse to the point where I'm literally going to have issues with daily tasks such as wiping my own backside without pain.

Thank you in advance


  • It is likely that this is caused by one of the treatments.  Do you have other muscle pain.  Hormone treatment generally causes this side effect.   Have you tried physiotherapy?  Here we can refer ourselves for physiotherapy so it may be worth just trying to get to see someone maybe even paying to go and see someone privately as they could give you exercvises and suggest a cream painkiller to help.  I have a similar problem but not connected with the cancer treatment but just old age.  Every morning I have to slowly bend and stretch and rub my fingers to loosen them up and also have to do this at times during the day if I have not moved my fingers for some time.  The pain can be quite bad and there are occassions when I either have to take medication and rub a painkilling cream containing something like ibuprofen into my hands.  I use a generic ibuprofen cream, movelat cream or sometimes voltarol cream as I cannot take the stronger pain killers due to a heart condition. As the voltarol cream is so expensive I use that at night which usually means I can go through until I have to painfully uncurl my fingers in the careful not to touch your more tender parts, mouth, eyes etc with the voltarol cream.  Hope you can find something that works for you.

  • Hi Rob

    I had a similar prognosis to you-was given 3 months to 11 years by my consultant. Started with a psa 0f 1000

    had 6 sessions of chemo and am on Zolodex and Bicalutamide 50mg tablets. Also had 6 Chemo sessions.

    I continued to walk 5 Km every day throughout treatment, slept a lot and ate loads.

    Like you, the joints in my hands ached crazily and I thought arthritis/osteo and lost the grip in my left hand but the right remains workable even though I cant fully make a fist. Just before the cancer diagnosis, I went for treatment of  a frozen right shoulder which hurt like hell but ultimately didn't make much difference to begin with but over the last year it has improved. 2 things have helped my left hand-self massaging it and exercising it by opening and closing to make a fist as much as possible. I also got compression gloves from Amazon which gave me relief at night and on days when my hand felt particularly weak and vulnerable-I got instant relief from them when my hand was bad.. Comfier hand massager costs £60 on amazon. The frozen shoulder has improved-about 60 percent normal and I've accepted that's as good as it going to get. Such a pain when you have to deal with pain when you're wiping your arse!

    Chin up, you're not alone.


  • I've ordered one of those hand massagers today, thank you for sharing your experiences.

    I have been offered a steroid injection for my shoulder but I'm so fed up with treatments I just want a break, but perhaps I'll try that after a few more months.

  • I have linked in this thread which might be of interest.

     Treatment Side Effects