Causes and treatment of pain in the finger joints, what to do

The finger joints most often start to ache after 40-45 years (in 1 in 10 people this is due to age-related changes in the body). After 60 years, pain often occurs on the background of polyosteoarthritis (lesions, destruction of articular cartilage of different joints).

Deformation and destruction of the wrist joints are diagnosed in 10% of the elderly.

Also, pain in the finger joints is a characteristic symptom of diseases such as:

  • rheumatoid arthritis (in 80% of cases it begins with inflammation of the finger joints);
  • psoriatic arthritis (in 70% of the fingers are the first to suffer);
  • gout (arthritis that affects the fingers, occurs in 10-15% of gout patients);
  • osteomyelitis is an infectious inflammation of the bones (attacking 6. 5% of all diseases of the musculoskeletal system).

Most arthritis, in which the finger joints are first involved in the process, is a systemic disease (i. e. , it affects different body systems, not just the joints).They are equally often diagnosed in people of any age, including young people; in men, it occurs 3-5 times more rarely.

Another cause of pain is a mechanical injury, as a result of a blow or bruise of the hand (uncommon in athletes, the prevalence is up to 40% of all traumatic injuries).

Some diseases that cause pain in the finger joints can not be completely cured, over time it becomes the cause of disability (rheumatoid, psoriatic arthritis, polyosteoarthritis). And, for example, from osteomyelitis with timely treatment, you can get rid of it forever, but the process quickly becomes chronic and can lead to limb loss (in 30% of cases).

If you suspect a systemic disease (arthritis, polyosteoarthritis), you should consult a rheumatologist or arthrologist. Osteomyelitis is treated by an orthopedic traumatologist, surgeon, injury - orthopedic traumatologist.

Why finger joint pain occurs: causes and symptoms

Why do finger joints hurt? There are many reasons, as well as factors that can speed up or slow down the process. Common predisposing factors for all diseases and injuries can be considered:

  1. Professions (this category includes people who have to work with brushes and fingers, musicians, tailors, programmers).
  2. Load (injuries and microtrauma as a result of hours of sports training, training).
  3. Hormonal changes, disorders (pregnancy, estrogen deficiency in older women).
  4. Heredity (close relatives are more prone to systemic diseases).
  5. Deficiency or disease of the immune system.
  6. Metabolic disorders (gout, diabetes mellitus).
  7. Chronic infection (tuberculosis).
  8. Hypothermia (hypothermia).
  9. Some long -term negative factors (among them - taking drugs, poisoning with toxic substances in dangerous enterprises, smoking, alcohol, etc. ).

The pathology and conditions that cause pain in the finger joints are described below in the article.


Pain that occurs after an injury is difficult to confuse with other things:

  • all symptoms occur immediately after blows, bruises, compressions, and other injuries;
  • swelling, bruising at the site of impact, impaired movement of the joints accompanied by sharp pain;
  • with moderate and severe damage, symptoms do not subside for a long time, but become more pronounced - pain, stiffness, swelling;
  • discomfort increases when trying to bend or straighten a finger.

Severe injuries to the fingers of the upper limbs are combined with:

  • rupture of muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, bleeding into the capsule (hemarthrosis) and soft tissue (hematomas);
  • fractures and fractures;
  • nerve damage (loss of sensation in the fingers and skin).

Prognosis: minor injuries heal without effect in 90–95% of cases. Severe and moderate injuries can leave a variety of complications - from sensitivity of the affected finger to traumatic arthritis in 70%.


Polyosteoarthritis is a chronic pathology, as a result of which the finger joints are gradually deformed and destroyed (there is a form of disease that affects the thumb joints - rhizarthrosis).

The hand is affected by polyosteoarthritis deformans

Initially, aching pains appear after hard work (sewing, embroidering, many hours of training on musical instruments). When the disease persists:

  • pain in finger joints becomes constant, does not disappear during rest;
  • clicking and throbbing (during movement) accompany the painful sensation;
  • stiffness appears (initially insignificant).

During periods of exacerbation, edema, swelling, increased local temperature, and sometimes redness in the joint area join the main symptoms.

Over time, fingers become deformed:

  1. At joints located closer to the nail, Heberden nodules (bone growths, bean -sized seals) form.
  2. Bouchard nodules (articular surface proliferation, bone spine) form in the middle joint.

The finger joints lose their original shape (become nodular), and over time, they lose mobility due to hard tissue hardening (ankylosis).

Prognosis: the pathology is incurable, but in the early stages (until the deformity appears) it can be suspended for a long time. Later, it becomes the cause of deformity (tissue grows together, hardens, finger mobility can only be restored with surgery).

Rheumatoid arthritis

Chronic inflammatory diseases of the joints, which occur with the involvement of other organs and systems in the pathological process (outer skin of the heart, lungs, vascular walls, skin).

Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by:

  • gradual increase and increase in symptoms (initially, worsening is replaced by a relatively long period of asymptomatic course, but they become shorter over time);
  • morning stiffness, reminiscent of tight gloves (disappears in 30-60 minutes);
  • sharp, sharp, dull pain in the joints of the fingers (in both hands), which, when bent, increases to be unbearable;
  • redness, swelling, puffiness, joint stiffness.

The pain syndrome usually occurs at night or in the morning and subsides slightly by noon.

When acute symptoms subside (during remission), the pain becomes less pronounced, aching, increased in movement, when working in cold water. The joints on the fingers ache during flexion and extension, remain painful to the touch and slightly swollen.

Gradually, the disease leads to the formation of stable deformities and dysfunction of the fingers - they move outward or upward, bent (middle, index and unnamed are more often affected, very rarely - little and big fingers), other jointsinvolved in the process (wrists, ankles, knees, shoulders). . .

Prognosis: the pathology is incurable, develops rapidly and leads to disability, to disability - 40% of cases within the first 5 years of development.

Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a severe systemic disease (psoriasis).

The most characteristic signs of damage to the finger joints:

  • sudden, sudden onset of arthritis;
  • defeat of the interphalangeal and distal joints (closer to the nail);
  • persistent, even, severe pain combined with widespread swelling, redness of the skin, limited mobility (the shape of the fingers at this time resembles a carrot or sausage, it is impossible to bend or release the finger joints due to pain and swelling);
  • overall temperature increase.

In the long run, it leads to the destruction of the nail plates (they collapse, lose their shape), deformation of the fingers (they "twist" outward or upward), and deformities.

Prognosis: psoriatic arthritis is incurable, difficult, rapidly progressing, and leads to disability in 90-95% of patients.

Gouty arthritis

Gouty arthritis occurs against the background of metabolic disorders, which are caused by excess uric acid accumulated in the body. It falls into the joint tissue, causing inflammation.

Deposition of uric acid crystals in the soft tissues of the fingers with gouty arthritis

Typical signs of gouty arthritis:

  1. Sharp, sudden, throbbing or burning pain in one or more finger joints.
  2. Any attempt to move your finger or touch it will exacerbate the unpleasant symptoms.
  3. It is accompanied by severe edema, which often spreads throughout the hand, discoloration of the skin (fingers on the hand become bluish purple), general increase in temperature (the patient has a fever, chills).
  4. Pain in the finger joints usually occurs at night.
  5. Attacks can last from 2 days to 2 weeks.

Progressive gouty arthritis causes the involvement of new joints in the process, their deformation (destruction of the articular surface). Tofu, a tissue deposit of uric acid, appears on the fingers.

Prognosis: Gout cannot be cured, but uric acid levels can be maintained with medication and diet. The disease rarely causes complete disability of the patient (5-8%), but over time it can destroy the finger joints (secondary arthrosis).

Why else can finger joints hurt?

Other causes of pain include the following diseases and conditions:


Infectious lesions on these bones (periosteum, sponge and dense material) usually begin acutely - joint pain in osteomyelitis is strong, sharp, wrinkled, broken or torn. When flexing or lengthening it increases to unbearable, accompanied by severe swelling, redness and thickening of tissues in the joints, fever and signs of general intoxication (weakness, sweating). In 30% of cases, osteomyelitis becomes chronic (it may recur), and pain in the fingers becomes painful. This process can lead to purulent arthritis, bone tissue malignancy, bone and joint deformities.


Vasospasm is a sharp narrowing of the peripheral channels that supply blood to the upper limbs, hands and finger joints. It is characterized by a sensation of tingling, numbness, pale skin. At the end of the attack (which can be short -lived - from 2 minutes, or long - up to 60 minutes), the fingers begin to ache, "hurt", and the skin on the hands turns red. Over time, the same phenomenon (vasospasm) becomes the cause of the appearance of trophic ulcers (tissue necrosis due to malnutrition), bone thinning and necrosis of the fingertips.


Pregnancy is not a pathological condition, however, it is accompanied by sharp and rapid hormonal changes in the body, metabolism is accelerated. Pain in the joints on the fingers, or more precisely pain, can trigger a lack of calcium and vitamin D3, as well as an excess of hormones that prepare the body for childbirth by loosening the ligaments.

Diagnostics: methods, research

When the joints on the fingers hurt, what to do? First of all, it is necessary to diagnose the pathology that causes such symptoms. Often, the attending physician prescribes several studies:

Method name What allows you to diagnose


With its help, pathological changes in bones, joint deformities, crystal deposition, tissue hardening are detected

MRI, CT or ultrasound

This diagnostic method allows you to establish any pathological changes in the periarticular and joint tissues, which are not visible on radiographs.

ECG, ultrasound of internal organs

Helps identify extra-articular manifestations of certain disease characteristics (pericarditis, pneumonitis)


Studies of blood vessels are informative for pathologies that occur with damage to their walls and can cause vasospasm (rheumatoid arthritis).

Clinical laboratory research

With the help of analysis, the cause of the disease is determined, infections and pathogens of pathological processes are detected

Therapeutic and diagnostic puncture in the joint (procedure for extracting fluid from the joint capsule)

A puncture is performed if blood (hemarthrosis), pus (an infectious process) or a large amount of fluid has accumulated in it, which impedes movement and threatens its destruction.

Treatment: principles, drugs, characteristics

Some diseases or conditions that cause pain in the joints of the fingers are incurable (vasospasm, osteoarthritis, psoriatic, gouty arthritis). Some heal completely and without consequences (with timely treatment - osteomyelitis, mild and moderate injuries).

General principles of treatment, methods of pain relief

Common in the treatment of all diseases that cause pain in the joints of the fingers is the appointment of drugs that help relieve severe symptoms.

Usually this:

  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which successfully relieve inflammation and pain;
  • glucocorticoids, which are prescribed if NSAIDs are ineffective;
  • painkillers if joint pain cannot be relieved by other means.

Once symptoms subside, patients are prescribed: chondroprotectors to slow or prevent cartilage destruction, and physical therapy.

Physiotherapy stimulates metabolic processes, accelerates tissue regeneration. Of the physiotherapeutic procedures for joint disease, the most popular are:

  • electrophoresis with drugs;
  • magnetotherapy;
  • UHF (ultra high frequency therapy);
  • reflexology (acupuncture);
  • massage;
  • mud therapy;
  • balneotherapy (hydrotherapy);
  • heating procedures (paraffin, ozokerite application);
  • therapeutic gymnastics (exercises to strengthen the finger joints).

If it is necessary to eliminate the pain in the finger joints and its causes, treatment in a sanatorium can give good results. Under the direction of the attending physician, patients have the opportunity to change the climate 1 or 2 times a year, take a course of physiotherapeutic procedures of rehabilitation, drink mineral water from natural sources.

Characteristics of the treatment of certain pathologies

In addition to the general methods and means, there are nuances in the treatment of each pathology:

Pathology Treatment features


Trauma treatment is step by step. First, the victim was given first aid (correcting bandages, ice compresses for 24 hours).

If necessary, puncture is performed, tissue integrity is restored (in case of serious damage), and does not move with the plaster.

On the 3-5th day, they begin to warm up, stimulating healing.


At the onset of the disease, the use of chondroprotectors and physiotherapy training is effective.

Then, only surgery helped (the problem was solved with prosthetics).

Rheumatoid arthritis

Prescribe basic anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, antibacterials, anti-allergy drugs, drugs that affect the activity of the immune system.

Psoriatic arthritis

Gouty arthritis

They treat the underlying disease (gout) by prescribing agents that control the formation and accelerate the excretion of uric acid, drugs that dissolve tissue salt deposits.

The mandatory part of treatment is a strict diet during the attack (table number 6), a less strict diet throughout life.


Surgical washing of the purulent cavity in the bone tissue, the opening of the abscess is carried out.

For treatment, antibiotics, antibacterial drugs are used.


How to treat vasospasm? In pathology, vasodilating and antispasmodic drugs (relaxing the muscles of the vascular wall), blood thinning are prescribed.

Eliminate the provoking factor (e. g. , smoking) or treat the underlying disease, against which vasospasm appears (e. g. , rheumatoid arthritis).

Folk remedies (pathological treatment, pain relief)

Pain in the finger joints can also be treated with drugs according to folk recipes:

  1. Infusion of eucalyptus leaves. Take 40 g of eucalyptus leaves, pour a liter of boiling water, leave for 60 minutes under the lid. When ready, strain, pour into a dark glass container, store in the refrigerator. Take daily for 2 weeks - 3 times 50 ml, 30 minutes before meals.
  2. Treatment of pain in the finger joints with the infusion of black currant leaves. Pour 10 g of raw material with 0. 5 liters of boiling water, let it brew under the lid for 20 minutes. Drink a glass 2 to 3 times throughout the day. The course duration is 2-3 months.
  3. Warming ointment for arthritis. Take 50 g of camphor and mustard powder each, dilute it in 100 ml of alcohol, add egg whites, whipped into a foam. Rub into the brush overnight. To treat the finger joints continuously for 21 days, after a while the course can be repeated.
  4. Sweep the oil. Dilute pine essential oil with vegetable oil (1: 1), rub into finger joints until completely absorbed before bedtime. First, they need to "warm up": boil the washed potato skins in water, when the broth is cool (to please warm), soak the brush in it and hold for 15-25 minutes, then rinse with clean water. They continue to be treated in this way for 3 weeks or until the symptoms of the disease disappear.


How to prevent pathology that causes pain in the finger joints? For this you need:

  • get rid of bad habits (quit smoking and alcohol);
  • introduce into the diet foods useful for joints and cartilage tissue (with adequate content of calcium, phosphorus, minerals and other vitamins, protein);
  • undergo regular examinations, removing the focus of chronic infection (e. g. , tonsillitis);
  • do not overload (spare load with rest) and do not over -cool your hands.

It is very important to strengthen the immune system (swimming, yoga, walking) and finger joints with rehabilitative gymnastics exercises.