About one month ago, the largest knuckle on my index finger(the joint on the actual finger, not the one connecting to hand) swelled up, became stiff and painful. No injury happened prior, nor can I remember a significant one in my life.It is sharply painful when I press between the joint nad on the sides of it. In the last month, it has been both worse and better. Last week it was 90% to be fine in regards to pain and movement. Yesterday it wet to worse than ever.
I am 33, I am very healthy otherwise.I have been to my primary care who, with bloodwork, ruled out gout, lyme, and ther were no antibodies. I was referred to an orthopedic, who thinks it is arthritis and assigned therapy for it. Anti-inlflammatories don't do much for it. I even had the idea it was reactionary arthritis, but I do not recall being sick, and I had more bloodwork to rule out any STD(like chlamydia) causing some reaction like that. IDK how to read xrays, but my finger xray showed a decent space between my joints.
Is this normal for arthritis to flare up so suddenly and stubbornly stay this long in someone my age? What could have caused this? Im sorry, but I find it hard to accept that my finger just flared out with pretty substantial arthritis literally overnight. Can it be something, or lack of, in my diet?
You might ask for a referral to a rheumatologist, who specializes in all kinds of arthritis and many different auto-immune disorders. Blood tests alone never tell the whole story. Many, many patients with RA (rheumatoid arthritis, the auto-immune type) are what's called "sero-negative", which means nothing shows up in blood tests. Some may test negative, then positive a few months later, then negative again.
RA can strike at any age - I've had it since age 5 and I've seen infants with it. You may or may not have a family history of it. I do - many others don't. Visit the Arthritis Foundation's web site for tons of information about the different types of auto-immune disorders that are lumped under the term "arthritis".
Yes, it definitely can strike overnight. At any point something can trigger the immune system to turn on itself and attack healthy tissues as "the enemy." No one knows why this happens or exactly what triggers it.
Also RA is different for each person who has it in terms of how many joints are initially involved, how fast it progresses, and MOST importantly, which medications work. No one person responds the same way to the same treatment. Mine started mainly in my wrists and feet, but eventually progressed to all my joints.
In some, it progresses rapidly and leads to drastic disability in a relatively short time. In others, it's more low-grade and easily manageable, but it's still at the very least inconvenient and annoying.
I'm not saying you have RA, but don't be surprised if it turns out to be some kind of auto-immune thing. It could very well be something reactionary that will settle down, but still I'd urge you to get checked out by a rheumatologist. If it does turn out to be AI, the sooner you start treatment, the better.
There are some disorders that can cause joint pain, thyroid deficiency being one of them. However this would be more likely to cause general joint pain, not just in one finger.
Can you think of anything that you do in your work or hobbies that might cause repetitive stress in that finger?
Thank you for the thorough response. I see the therapist again tomorrow, and if it is still the same, I am going to ask to see the orthopedist again. If he shrugs it off again like last time, I will ask for a referral to a rheumatologist, either from him or my primary if he is reluctant.
I absolutely use that finger alot in my work.I work in publishing, and I routinely pick up fairly heavy atlases with most of the bearing down sideways on the finger. I also bind these atlase with a fast repetitive moton with that one finger....been doing it since around 10 years old:).
IDK if Id call it heavy stress on the finger....although it does not take much i guess. Ive never had a problem before really with the finger, although I think I remember last year hearing a creak in a finger...not sure if it was this one or not.
Im just a little surprised at how rapidly it became inflamed and sore, it was very noticeable overnight....and by the 2nd day was "sausage finger". I have always thought arthritis (osteo) would be very gradual with pain/stiffness building over the course of years.
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