Health Magazine

Nail Fold Inflammation and a Transfer Update

By Cass
Hi All,
So a couple of things to cover today and one of which is very positive.....finally some great news. However first I am going to talk about swollen nail folds and nail beds, because mine are killing me. This is a regular occurrence for me and many other people I have spoken too, but I have never had it quite as bad as I do now and I am not sure of the reason behind this. It is such an odd sensation being able to actually feel your nails and it's not a pleasant one. Now I know some of you will be thinking that this can't be that painful or that much of a hindrance considering the sheer amount of awful symptoms that come with connective tissue diseases. Well let me tell you, it is so uncomfortable that typing, undoing lids, holding cups, doing my hair, tying shoe laces and so on have become a painful chore. I know this sounds disgusting, but the pressure behind my finger nails is making them feel like they are just going to fall off.
Nail Fold Inflammation and a Transfer Update
As I am in the midst of transferring hospitals, something I will get onto later, I have little choice until May other than to just put up with it and try and heal them myself at home. Obviously i have tried the anti inflammatory's which have not helped me that much at all. So, what else have I tried? Well as I now know this is a common problem, I though I would share the things I have tried and rate them out of 10 for pain relief, protecting the skin around my nails and helping me to manage working as a writer.
Ice, ice and more ice
So the first thing i automatically thought to try was ice. As I use this a lot on other swollen joints it seemed reasonable to try this out. The obvious answer is that it did take away the pain.....thank goodness as the throbbing was driving me mad. However ice has a massive downside, it brings on my Raynauds and it numbs my fingers.
Nail Fold Inflammation and a Transfer Update
After using the ice for only a matter of second, my raynauds kicked in causing me pain in the lower half of my fingers and stiffening my joints. So what was excruciating in my nail beds was now excruciating in my not worth it at all. Finally, have you ever tried to do anything with numb fingers? I couldn't hold a cup of tea, use a knife and fork or even move my fingers very well at all. They were slow and heavy. So my advice would be, if you are going to use ice do it before bed and don't do it if you have raynauds.
Warm Salt Water
Thanks to Nell another brave lupus warrior, she gave me the idea of a warm salt water bath for my finger tips. Salt water has so many wonderful uses; it can help heal infections, wounds, sore throats etc. So it seemed like an obvious and great choice for trying out. As soon as my hands got stuck in my skin felt as though it relaxed and wasn't as tight, which causes a lot of the throbbing sensation. This feeling was like heaven, just completely relaxing for my exhausted nails - I know that is probably the strangest sentence I have ever typed.
What the salt water didn't do was take down the swelling our the pain in the pads of my fingers. However it did thoroughly clean the cracks that are appearing, take away some of the throbbing and give my fingers a break from the pressure. I would suggest patting them dry also, so you don't irritate them any further.
Anti Inflammatory Creams
There are so many ibuprofen gels and creams out there that I thought maybe this would help at least to take down some of the pain. Firstly DO NOT use these if you have any broken skin because it is extremely unpleasant. More importantly, do not use these if you are taking any other anti inflammatory's, for which I hadn't before I tried this out.
Nail Fold Inflammation and a Transfer Update
I picked a soothing one and not a gel, I was hoping this would help to moisturise the skin as well, for which it did. The pain was reduced, it didn't go completely, but it was a lot more comfortable and so was the swelling. The main issue I had with this is that I couldn't use it on all of my finger tips as some have cracked and because of using the cream I had to go without my anti inflammatory's, so the rest of me swelled up like a balloon.
Cutting my Nails as Short as Possible
To be honest I have never had the nicest nails anyway so I was not too bothered by cutting them short. I wanted to see if this would take a little of the pressure off and help me to not catch them on anything. As soon as I had cut them down I felt some of the pressure go, I have absolutely no idea why, but it did and I was grateful. This also gave me the chance to add some antiseptic cream to the cracks as the last thing I need is for them to get infected as well.
Equally I removed all nail varnish and any other irritant I could think of, such as hand cream. I haven't noticed any difference from doing this, but it does give me the access to see my nail beds and watch for the redness to come. This I can then tackle with pain killers, salt water etc.
Nail Fold Inflammation and a Transfer Update
As you can see here there is nothing that has worked 100%, but a combination of these has helped me carry on with work and get my fingers feeling a little less sore. Oh apart from the ice....stay away from the ice! One last thing I will be trying that came recommended from Kirsty-Fay another lupus fighter, in Avonplex by OPI. It is £12 a bottle, but she has given it a rave review, so this shall be my next thing to try.
A Quick Transfer Update.....
So just to give you all an update as to where I am up to with the transfer process. After a good chat to my GP, who is extremely understanding and helpful, I asked to be moved to a larger hospital closer to my home. This one has come recommended very highly for there great level of care and this is exactly what I need. So I was expecting to be added to the waiting list, which are always ridiculously long at around 3-6 months. This scared me somewhat as I was worried about having a flare up and not having a specialist to consult, but it had to be done after I was treated so poorly on Tuesday.
So you can imagine my surprise, when the new hospital rang me yesterday morning to give me an appointment ASAP. I will have my first consult in 3 weeks time!!! They have also left me the numbers for the specialist nurse if I should need them before my date and the secretary even reassured me of the level of care on the phone.
I could not be happier than I am right now. I feel as if a weight has been lifted from me. Even if I don't get the answers I need for months, I have made a positive first step, taken control of my care and done the best I can for my health. Nothing feels better than that!

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