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

Finger joints begin to hurt more often after age 40 to 45 (in 1 in 10 people this is due to age-related changes in the body). After 60 years, pain often occurs against the background of polyosteoarthritis (injuries, destruction of the articular cartilage of different joints).

Deformation and destruction of the joints of the hands is diagnosed in 10% of older people.

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

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

Most arthritis, in which the finger joints are involved in the process first, are systemic diseases (that is, they affect different systems of the body, not just the joints).They are diagnosed with the same frequency in people of any age, including young people; in men, they occur 3-5 times less often.

Another cause of pain is mechanical injuries, the consequences of blows or bruises on the hands (it is not uncommon in athletes, the prevalence is up to 40% of all traumatic injuries).

Some of the diseases that cause pain in the finger joints cannot be completely cured, over time they become a 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 the loss of a limb (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 does finger joint pain occur: causes and symptoms?

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

  1. Profession (this category includes people who have to work with brushes and fingers, musicians, seamstresses, programmers).
  2. Loads (injuries and microtraumas resulting from hours of sports training, rehearsals).
  3. Hormonal changes, disorders (pregnancy, lack of estrogens in older women).
  4. Heredity (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 (among them, taking medication, poisoning with toxic substances in a dangerous company, smoking, alcoholism, etc. ).

Pathologies 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 anything else:

  • all symptoms occur immediately after a blow, bruise, compression and other injuries;
  • swelling, bruising at the place of impact, reduced mobility of the joints join acute pain;
  • with moderate and severe damage, the symptoms do not go away for a long time, but become more pronounced: pain, stiffness, swelling;
  • discomfort increases when trying to bend or stretch the fingers.

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

  • tears of muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, bleeding in the capsule (hemarthrosis) and soft tissues (bruises);
  • bone fractures and cracks;
  • nerve damage (loss of feeling in the fingers and skin).

Prognosis: minor injuries heal without a trace in 90-95% of cases. Severe and moderate injuries can lead to various complications, from impaired finger sensitivity to traumatic arthritis in 70%.


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

Hands affected by deforming polyosteoarthritis

At first, the pain appears after hard work (sewing, embroidery, many hours of rehearsals with a musical instrument). As the disease progresses:

  • pain in the joints of the fingers becomes constant, does not disappear at rest;
  • clicks and crunches (during movements) join painful sensations;
  • 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, the fingers become deformed:

  1. In the joints located closest to the nails, Heberden's nodules (bony growths, pea-sized seals) form.
  2. Bouchard's nodules (proliferation of joint surfaces, bone spines) form in the middle joints.

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

Prognosis: the pathology is incurable, but in the early stages (until the deformation appears) it can be suspended for a long time. Later, it becomes the cause of disability (tissues grow together, ossify, the mobility of the fingers can only be restored by surgery).

Rheumatoid arthritis

Chronic inflammatory disease of the joints, which occurs with the participation of other organs and systems in the pathological process (outer layer of the heart, lungs, vascular walls, skin).

Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by:

  • a gradual increase and increase in symptoms (at first, the exacerbation is replaced by rather long periods of asymptomatic course, but they are shortened over time);
  • morning stiffness, reminiscent of tight gloves (disappears in 30-60 minutes);
  • sharp, sharp and dull pain in the joints of the fingers (in both hands), which, when bent, increases to excruciating;
  • redness, swelling, swelling, stiffness of the joints.

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

When acute symptoms subside (during remission), the pain becomes less pronounced, painful, increases in motion, when working in cold water. Finger joints hurt during flexion and extension, remain painful to the touch and slightly swollen.

Gradually, the disease leads to the formation of a stable deformity and dysfunction of the fingers: they turn outward or upward, bend (the middle, index and anonymous are most often affected, very rarely, the little finger and the large), other joints are involved in the process (wrists, ankles, knees, shoulders). . .

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

Psoriasic arthritis

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

The most characteristic signs of damage to the joints of the fingers:

  • sudden and abrupt onset of arthritis;
  • defeat of the interphalangeal and distal joints (closest to the nail);
  • constant, uniform and severe pain combined with extensive swelling, redness of the skin, limited mobility (the shape of the fingers at this time resembles a radish or a sausage, it is impossible to bend or flex the finger joints due to pain and the inflamation );
  • general temperature rise.

In the long term, it leads to the destruction of the nail plates (they crumble, lose their shape), the deformation of the fingers (they "turn" outward or upward) and disability.

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

Gout Arthritis

Gouty arthritis occurs against the background of metabolic disorders, due to which excess uric acid accumulates in the body. It falls into the tissue of the joints and causes inflammation.

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

Typical signs of gouty arthritis:

  1. Sharp, sudden, stabbing, or burning pain in one or more finger joints.
  2. Any attempt to move or touch the finger aggravates the unpleasant symptom.
  3. It is accompanied by severe edema, often spreading to the whole hand, a change in skin color (the finger turns bluish-purple), a general increase in temperature (the patient has a fever, chills ).
  4. Pain in the finger joints usually occurs at night.
  5. The attack can last from 2 days to 2 weeks.

Progressive gouty arthritis becomes the reason for the participation of new joints in the process, their deformation (destruction of joint surfaces). Tofus, tissue deposits of uric acid, appear on the fingers.

Prognosis: Gout is incurable, but uric acid levels can be maintained with medications and diet. The disease rarely causes complete disability of the patient (5-8%), but over time it can destroy the finger joints (secondary osteoarthritis).

Why else can finger joints hurt?

Other causes of pain include the following diseases and conditions:


This infectious lesion of the bones (periosteum, compact spongy substance) usually begins acutely: joint pain in osteomyelitis is severe, sharp, spasmodic, burst or tearing. When flexed or extended it increases to unbearable, accompanied by severe swelling, redness and thickening of the tissues over the joint, fever and signs of general intoxication (weakness, sweating). In 30% of cases, osteomyelitis becomes chronic (it may recur) and the pain in the fingers becomes painful. The process can cause purulent arthritis, malignancy of bone tissue, deformation of bones and joints.


Vasospasm is an acute narrowing of the peripheral vessels that supply blood to the upper extremities, hands, and finger joints. It is characterized by tingling sensations, numbness, pale skin. At the end of the attack (which can be short term, from 2 minutes, or long, up to 60 minutes), the fingers begin to ache, "hurt" and the skin of the hands becomes red. Over time, a similar phenomenon (vasospasm) becomes the cause of the development of trophic ulcers (tissue necrosis due to malnutrition), bone fusion and necrosis of the fingertips.

The pregnancy

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

Diagnosis: methods, research

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

Method name What allows you to diagnose

bone scan

With the help of it, pathological changes in the bones, joint deformity, crystal deposition, tissue ossification are detected.

MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound

These diagnostic methods allow you to establish any pathological changes in the periarticular tissues and the joint, which are not visible on X-rays.

ECG, ultrasound of internal organs

Helps to identify extra-articular manifestations characteristic of certain diseases (pericarditis, pneumonitis)


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

Clinical laboratory research

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

Therapeutic and diagnostic puncture of the joints (procedure to remove fluid from the joint capsule)

The puncture is performed if blood (hemarthrosis), pus (infectious processes) or a large amount of fluid has accumulated, which impede mobility and threaten it with its destruction.

Treatment: principles, drugs, characteristics.

Some of the diseases or conditions that cause finger joint pain cannot be cured (vasospasm, osteoarthritis, psoriatic, gouty arthritis). Some are cured completely and without consequences (with timely treatment: osteomyelitis, mild and moderate injuries).

General principles of treatment, pain relief methods.

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

Usually this:

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

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

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

  • drug electrophoresis;
  • magnetotherapy;
  • UHF (ultra high frequency therapy);
  • reflexology (acupuncture);
  • massage;
  • mud therapy;
  • balneotherapy (hydrotherapy);
  • heating procedures (applications of paraffin, ozokerite);
  • therapeutic gymnastics (exercises to strengthen the joints of the fingers).

If it is necessary to eliminate pain in the joints of the fingers and its causes, treatment in a sanatorium can give a good result. At the direction of the attending physician, the patient has the opportunity to change the climate 1 or 2 times a year, take a course of restorative physiotherapeutic procedures, drink mineral water from natural sources.

Characteristics of the treatment of specific pathologies.

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

Pathology Treatment characteristics


Trauma treatment is stage by stage. First, the victim receives first aid (fixation bandage, ice pack for 24 hours).

If necessary, a puncture is performed, the integrity of the tissues is restored (in case of severe damage) and they are immobilized with plaster.

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


At the beginning of the disease, the use of chondroprotectors and physical therapy exercises are effective.

Later, only the operation helps (the problem is solved with prosthetics).

Rheumatoid arthritis

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

Psoriasic arthritis

Gout Arthritis

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

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


Surgical washing of purulent cavities in bone tissue is carried out, opening of abscesses.

For treatment, antibiotics, antibacterial drugs are used.


How to treat vasospasm? In pathology, vasodilator and antispasmodic drugs (relax the muscles of the vascular walls), anticoagulants are prescribed.

Eliminate provoking factors (for example, smoking) or treat the underlying disease, against which vasospasm appeared (for example, rheumatoid arthritis).

Folk remedies (treatment of pathologies, pain relief)

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

  1. Infusion on eucalyptus leaves. Take 40 g of eucalyptus leaves, pour a liter of boiling water, let it rest for 60 minutes under the lid. When ready, strain, drain into a dark glass container, store in the refrigerator. Take every day for 2 weeks - 3 times 50 ml, 30 minutes before meals.
  2. Treatment of pain in the joints of the fingers with an infusion of black currant leaves. Pour 10 g of raw materials with 0. 5 liters of boiling water, let it brew under the lid for 20 minutes. Drink a glass 2 to 3 times during the day. The duration of the course is 2-3 months.
  3. Warming ointment for arthritis. Take 50 g of camphor and mustard powder each, dilute in turn in 100 ml of alcohol, add egg white, whipped into foam. Rub in brushes overnight. Treatment of finger joints continues for 21 days, after a while the course can be repeated.
  4. Rub with oil. Dilute fir essential oil with vegetable oil (1: 1), rub into finger joints until completely absorbed before bedtime. First, they must be "heated": boil the washed potato peel in water, when the broth cools (so that it is pleasantly warm), dip the brushes 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 pathologies that cause pain in the finger joints? For this you need:

  • get rid of bad habits (stop smoking and alcohol);
  • introduce into the diet foods that are useful for the joints and cartilage tissue (with a sufficient content of calcium, phosphorus, other minerals and vitamins, proteins);
  • undergo regular examinations, get rid of foci of chronic infection (for example, tonsillitis);
  • don't overload (alternate load with rest) and don't overcool your hands.

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