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

Finger joints most often start to hurt after 40-45 years (in 1 in 10 people this is caused by age-related changes in the body). After 60 years, pain often occurs on the background of polyosteoarthritis (injuries, destruction of articular cartilage of various joints).

Deformity and destruction of the joints of the hands is diagnosed in 10% of the elderly.

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

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (in 80% of cases it starts with inflammation of the finger joints);
  • Psoriatic arthritis (in 70% the fingers suffer first);
  • Goiter (arthritis of the fingers is found in 10-15% of patients with gout);
  • Osteomyelitis is an infectious inflammation of the bones (accounting for 6, 5% of all diseases of the musculoskeletal system).

Most of the arthritis in which the finger joints are involved for the first time are systemic diseases (i. e. they affect different systems of the body and not just the joints).They are equally commonly diagnosed in people of any age, including young people, and 3-5 times less often in men.

Another cause of pain is mechanical injury, the result of a blow to the hand or a bruise (not uncommon in athletes, spreading to 40% of all traumatic injuries).

Some diseases that cause pain in the joints of the fingers can not be completely cured, over time they become a cause of disability (rheumatoid, psoriatic arthritis, polyosteoarthritis). And, for example, with timely treatment of osteomyelitis, you can get rid of it forever, but the process quickly becomes chronic and can lead to limb loss (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, injuries - 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 speed up the process. Factors common to all diseases and injuries can be considered:

  1. Profession (this category includes people who have to work with brushes and fingers, musicians, tailors, programmers).
  2. Loads (injuries and microtraumas caused by hours of exercise, rehearsals).
  3. Hormonal changes, disorders (pregnancy, lack of estrogen in older women).
  4. Inheritance (close relatives are more susceptible to systemic diseases).
  5. Immune system deficiencies or diseases.
  6. Metabolic disorders (gout, diabetes mellitus).
  7. Chronic infections (tuberculosis).
  8. Hypothermia (hypothermia).
  9. Some long-term negative factors (including - taking medication, poisoning with toxic substances in a dangerous enterprise, smoking, alcoholism, etc. ).

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


The pain that results from an injury is hard to confuse with anything else:

  • All symptoms occur with stroke, bruising, compression, and other injuries;
  • Acute pain is accompanied by swelling, bruising at the site of impact, impaired mobility of the joints;
  • With moderate and severe damage, the symptoms do not disappear for a long time, but become more pronounced - pain, stiffness, swelling;
  • Discomfort increases when trying to bend or straighten fingers.

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

  • Ruptures of muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, bleeding in capsules (hemarthrosis) and soft tissues (hematomas);
  • Bone fractures and cracks;
  • Nerve damage (loss of sensitivity in fingers and skin).

Prognosis: Minor injuries without a trace will heal in 90-95% of cases. Severe and moderate injuries can leave a variety of complications - from a decrease in finger sensitivity of up to 70% to traumatic arthritis.


Polyosteoarthritis is a chronic pathology in which the joints of the fingers are gradually deformed and destroyed (there is a form of the disease that affects the joints of the fingers - rhizarthrosis).

Hands affected by deformity of polyosteoarthritis

Initially, excruciating pain occurs after hard work (sewing, embroidery, hours of rehearsal on a musical instrument). As the disease progresses:

  • The pain in the joints of the fingers becomes constant, does not disappear during rest;
  • Clicking and cramping (during movement) are joined by painful sensations;
  • Hardness (initially insignificant) appears.

The main symptoms during the exacerbation are swelling, edema, local temperature rise, and sometimes redness around the joints.

Fingers deform over time:

  1. Heberden nodes (bone growths, pea-sized seals) are formed at the joints closest to the nails.
  2. Bushar nodes (proliferation of joint surfaces, bone spines) are formed in the middle joints.

The finger joints lose their original shape (become nodular), and over time lose mobility due to ossification of the soft tissues (ankylosis).

Prognosis: The pathology is incurable, but at an early stage (before the onset of the deformity) may stop for a long time. Later it becomes a cause of disability (tissues grow together, fold, finger mobility is only restored by surgery).

ᲠEvmatoid arthritis

Chronic inflammatory disease of the joints, manifested by the involvement of other organs and systems in the pathological process (outer membrane of the heart, lungs, blood vessel walls, skin).

Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by:

  • Gradual increase and increase in symptoms (onset of exacerbation varies with fairly long periods of asymptomatic course, but over time they decrease);
  • Morning firmness, reminiscent of tight gloves (disappears in 30-60 minutes);
  • Sharp, sharp, dull pain in the joint of the fingers (on both hands), which rises to the point of inclination;
  • Redness, swelling, edema, stiffness of the joints.

The pain syndrome usually occurs at night or in the morning and decreases slightly in the afternoon.

With the onset of acute symptoms (during remission) the pain is less pronounced, aching, increased movement while working in cold water. The joints of the fingers ache during flexibility and extension, remain painful to the touch, and are slightly swollen.

Gradually, the disease causes stable deformation and dysfunction of the fingers - they move outwards or upwards, tilting (middle, index and middle fingers are more often injured, very rarely - little and big fingers), other joints. Participate in the process (wrists, ankles, knees, shoulders). . .

Prognosis: The pathology is incurable, progresses rapidly and causes disability, up to disability - 40% of cases within the first 5 years of development.

Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a form of severe systemic disease (psoriasis).

The most common signs of damage to the finger joints:

  • Sudden, sharp onset of arthritis;
  • Defeat of the interphalangeal and distal (closer to the nail) joints;
  • Persistent, even, severe pain with severe swelling, redness of the skin, limited mobility (the shape of the fingers at this point resembles radish or sausage, due to pain and swelling it is impossible to bend or remove the finger joints);
  • Increase in total temperature.

In the long run, this leads to the destruction of the nail plates (they crumble, lose their shape), deformity of the fingers (they are "turned" from the outside or above) and disability.

Prognosis: Psoriatic arthritis is incurable, complex, progresses rapidly, and causes disability in 90-95% of patients.

Gouty arthritis

Gouty arthritis occurs on the background of metabolic disorders, due to which excess uric acid accumulates 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. A sharp, sudden, tingling or burning pain in one or more joints of a finger.
  2. Any attempt to move or touch the finger aggravates the unpleasant symptom.
  3. It is accompanied by severe swelling, which often spreads to the whole hand, a change in skin color (the finger on the hand becomes bluish-purple), a rise in general temperature (the patient has a fever, chills). .
  4. Pain in the joints of the fingers usually occurs at night.
  5. The attack can last from 2 days to 2 weeks.

Progressive gouty arthritis causes new joints to be involved in the process, causing them to deform (destroy the joint surfaces). Tuffs appear on the fingers, deposits of uric acid tissue.

Prognosis: Gout is incurable, 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 joints of the fingers (secondary arthrosis).

Why else can finger joints hurt?

Other causes of pain include the following diseases and conditions:


This infectious lesion of the bones (periosteum, spongy and compact substance) usually begins acutely - the joint pain during osteomyelitis is strong, sharp, trembling, exploding or tearing. When tilted or extended it increases to unbearable, accompanied by strong swelling, redness and thickening of the tissues at the joint, fever and signs of general intoxication (weakness, sweating). In 30% of cases, osteomyelitis becomes chronic (may recur) and the pain in the fingers is painful. The process can lead to purulent arthritis, malignant tumors of bone tissue, deformation of bones and joints.


Vasospasm is a sharp narrowing of the peripheral blood vessels that supply blood to the upper extremities, hands, and finger joints. Characterized by tingling sensation, 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, "pain" and the skin on the hands becomes red. Melting and necrosis of the fingertips.


Pregnancy is not a pathological condition, although it is accompanied by sharp and rapid hormonal changes in the body, accelerated metabolism. Pain in the joints of the fingers, or rather pain, can be caused by a lack of calcium and vitamin D3, as well as an excess amount of the hormone that prepares the body for childbirth by relaxing the ligaments.

Diagnosis: Methods, Research

When the finger joint hurts, what should we do? First of all, it is necessary to diagnose the pathologies that cause such a symptom. Most often, the attending physician prescribes numerous studies:

Name of the method What allows you to diagnose


With its help, pathological changes in the bones, deformation of the joints, deposition of crystals, ossification of the tissue are detected.

MRI, CT or ultrasound

These diagnostic methods allow you to detect any abnormal changes in the periarticular tissues and joints that are not seen on radiography.

ECG, ultrasound of internal organs

Helps to identify external manifestations characteristic of certain diseases (pericarditis, pneumonitis)


The study of blood vessels is informative for pathologies that arise from damage to their walls and can cause vasospasm (rheumatoid arthritis)

Clinical laboratory study

With the help of tests the cause of the disease is determined, infections and pathogens of the pathological process are revealed.

Therapeutic and diagnostic puncture of the joints (procedure for removing fluid from the joint capsule)

A puncture is performed if it has accumulated blood (hemarthrosis), pus (infectious processes), or a large amount of fluid that impedes movement and threatens to destroy it.

Treatment: principles, drugs, properties

Some diseases or conditions that cause pain in the joints of the fingers of the hand are not cured (vasospasm, osteoarthritis, psoriatic, gouty arthritis). Some are completely and in vain cured (with timely treatment - osteomyelitis, light and moderate injuries).

General principles of treatment, methods of pain relief

It is common to treat all diseases that cause pain in the joints of the fingers of the hand, there is the appointment of medications that help to get rid of severe symptoms.

Usually this is:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that successfully relieve inflammation and pain;
  • Glucocorticoids prescribed in case of ineffectiveness of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • Painkillers, if joint pain is not possible by other means.

As soon as the symptoms disappear, the patient is prescribed: chondroprotectors to slow or prevent cartilage destruction and physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy stimulates metabolic processes, accelerates tissue regeneration. The most popular physiotherapy procedures for joint diseases are:

  • Electrophoresis with medications;
  • Magnetotherapy;
  • UHF (Ultra High Frequency Therapy);
  • Reflexology (acupuncture);
  • Massage;
  • Mud therapy;
  • Balneotherapy (hydrotherapy);
  • Heating procedures (paraffin, ozokerite);
  • In therapeutic gymnastics (exercises to strengthen the finger joints).

If we need to eliminate the pain in the joints of the fingers and their causes, treatment in a sanatorium can give us good results. Under the direction of the attending physician, the patient gets the opportunity to change the climate once or twice a year, undergo a course of restorative physiotherapy procedures, drink mineral water from natural sources.

Peculiarities of treatment of specific pathologies

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

Pathology Characteristics of treatment


Trauma is treated in stages. First the victim is given first aid (tightening of the bandage, ice compress for 24 hours).

If necessary, a puncture is made, tissue integrity is restored (in case of serious damage) and immobilized with plaster.

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


The use of chondroprotectors and physiotherapy exercises at the beginning of the disease is effective.

Later only surgery helps (problem with prosthesis is solved).

ᲠEvmatoid arthritis

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

Psoriatic arthritis

Gouty arthritis

They treat the underlying disease (gout) by prescribing agents that regulate the production and accelerate the secretion of uric acid, medications that remove tissue deposits of salts.

A mandatory part of treatment is a strict diet during an attack (Table 6), a less strict diet throughout life.


Surgical washing of purulent cavities of bone tissue, opening of abscesses is performed.

Antibiotics, antibacterial drugs are used for treatment.


How to treat vasospasm? In case of pathology, vasoconstrictors and antispasmodics (blood vessel wall muscle relaxants), blood thinners are prescribed.

Eliminate provoking factors (e. g. , smoking) or treat the underlying disease against which vasospasm has developed (e. g. , rheumatoid arthritis).

Folk remedies (treatment of pathologies, analgesics)

Pain in the joints of the fingers can also be treated according to folk recipes:

  1. Infusion on eucalyptus leaves. Take 40 g of eucalyptus leaf, pour a liter of boiling water, leave for 60 minutes under the lid. When ready, strain, strain into a dark glass container, store in the refrigerator. Take daily for 2 weeks - 50 ml 3 times, 30 minutes before eating.
  2. Treatment of pain in the joints of the fingers with an infusion of black currant leaves. 10 g of raw material pour 0. 5 liters of boiling water, boil under a lid for 20 minutes. Drink one glass 2 to 3 times throughout the day. The duration of the course is 2-3 months.
  3. Warming ointment for arthritis. Take 50 g of camphor and mustard powder, dilute it in 100 ml of alcohol, add egg whites, beaten in foam. Massage into brushes overnight. The treatment of the finger joints lasts for 21 days, after a certain period the course can be repeated.
  4. Grinding oil. Dilute spruce essential oil with vegetable oil (1: 1), rub into finger joints until completely absorbed at bedtime. First you need to "warm up": Boil the washed potato peel in water when the broth has cooled (to warm it up nicely), put the brushes in it and leave it for 15-25 minutes, then rinse with clean water.


How to prevent pathologies that cause pain in the joints of the fingers? This requires:

  • Getting rid of bad habits (giving up smoking and alcohol);
  • Include in your diet foods that are good for joints and cartilage (high in calcium, phosphorus, other minerals, and vitamins, proteins);
  • Undergo regular examinations to eliminate foci of chronic infection (e. g. , tonsillitis);
  • Do not overload (alternate load with rest) and do not cool hands.

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