Past or repeated trauma can cause arthritic degeneration in some joints. That may be what you're dealing with. I'm no expert and you should check this for accuracy, but I believe that although that type of arthritis can get worse in the affected joint, it is not
a systemic immune response issue like typical arthritis is. Meaning it is unlikely to spread and affect other joints.
If that is the case, consider yourself lucky! (...well, relatively speaking anyway.)
I have a type of arthritis called "Palindromic Rheumatoid Arthritis!" It is characterized by random, acute flare-ups in various joints. By that I mean it tends to play musical chairs with my body and I will get a mild to moderate ache or two in several joints at the same time until it decides which one it wants to settle into and become acute.
When that happens, the pain and swelling becomes extreme, the affected appendage becomes useless and nothing, including narcotic pain meds will touch it. The only thing that will work to relieve the pain is a massive dose of steroids over a day or two, (which has it's own problems.) In order for them to work, It takes about 2-3 hours before the majority of the pain is gone. Not playing "I got that beat
" with you, just pointing out, things could be worse.
I've had this now since I was in my mid 40's. Funny thing is, I can crash my MTB, take hard slams and falls on the snowboard, lift weights in the gym and nothing!! No flare ups, no pain. (....aside from that associated with the crash or workout.) But let me turn a door knob wrong, miss a shift on my big rig, or reach around to get something out of the back seat of the car, and sure as shit! I will wind up with a flare up starting and in a few hours I'm in excruciating pain and dosing myself with steroids!
Ah well, as long as it doesn't interfere with my snowboarding,.. FuckIt!!!!