"Although my inflammation is normal..."
Hiya, as a thought provoking measure I'll suggest to you that there is no such thing as 'inflammation', in the sense of it being a single entity. E.g., you can test ESR and CRP, but what about IL-6 and TNF and IL-10 and on and on... for starters.
Or... inflammation can be very local in tissue and so the markers might not show up much in the blood anyway.
Overall, in your case what comes to mind is possibly Leukotriene B4 and neutrophils. An OTC anti-LTB4 is frankincense. (Yep, that same famous one.)
Btw, inflammation is usually worse in the morning. Have you had your morning cortisol (anti-inflammatory) peak measured?
"my right knee is suddenly stiff at night also with a similar stiffness, not sure if that is related"
It probably is. Any lung problems?
"only the top on my hands" is a feature that stands out, as if maybe there is something bad in contact. If not hand creme, then something maybe in/on a blanket? Or pet fur?
Well, I don't mean to be recommending any of those tests at random. In response to you writing "no inflammation problems", I mean to be pointing out that inflammation has almost limitless complexity - way beyond just the ESR and CRP that you've had, along with the few antibody tests.
"a history of mild asthma but it has been almost nonexistent lately"
That concurrent absence is a clue, to something or other.
"It is livable now but I worry about damage left untreated."
Yes, you'd certainly want to prevent any fibrosis/remodeling (two more concepts to look up). I'd try experimenting overnight with topicals, one hand versus the other. Menthol, capsicum, aspirin. Turmeric is anti-TNF.
Yes, turmeric may be supportive for an overall healthy inflammation response. One thing to note is that forms that are hydro-soluble absorb better.
Hi, RockRose. What seems most likely goes like this:
- something(1) in your lungs makes the lungs susceptible to a bacteria infection
- your immune system over reacts to the bacterial lung infection, including production of lots and lots of pro-inflammatory signalling molecules
- something(2) in that one finger makes it very responsive, and it over reacts to the signalling molecules that got there via the blood
- the Abx suppresses the lung infection, so then the reduction of blood-borne inflammatory molecules results in the finger inflammation going down
- when Abx stops, then maybe because of something(1) all reproduces as before... so didn't they give you more of the same Abx??
I'm guessing that you have some history of a hyperactive immune system. E.g., any unusual skin and/or gut problems?
As for something(1), since TB has been ruled out I'd keep in the back of my mind the possibility of sarcoidosis - not that it's likely.
As for something(2), are you left handed?
There's lots more to say, if you'd like to go back and forth for a while. Btw, I'd think of this as Reactive Dactylitis - though that term maybe doesn't exist (yet), so you can look up Reactive Arthritis.
"[salicylate/aspirin] does seem to help the sharp pain at the base of my thumb [but not otherwise]"
That tends to confirm what you say about the thumb-base arthritis being different than the back of the hands effects.
"I looked up fibrosis/remodeling and see lung/heart covered but not hands."
It's the same process wherever it occurs. E.g., in the liver it's cirrhosis. It is damaging.
"They are mainly only stiff on CLOSING the hand further the than the starting point."
Probably the swelling doesn't come so much into play when the fingers are extended.
Btw, does being cold come into play? Have you ever looked during the night and confirmed that the hands are not blotchy or all pale? If not, I'd set the alarm to see.