Causes and treatment of finger joint pain what to do

Finger joints usually start to hurt after 40–45 years of age (one in 10 people experience pain due to age-related changes in the body). After the age of 60, pain often appears against the background of polyarthritis (damage, destruction of articular cartilage of various joints).

Deformity and destruction of the hand joints are diagnosed in 10% of the elderly.

In addition, finger joint pain is a characteristic symptom of diseases such as:

  • rheumatoid arthritis (in 80% of cases the disease begins with inflammation of the joints of the fingers);
  • psoriatic arthritis (70% of the fingers are the first);
  • gout (arthritis affecting the fingers of the hand, occurs in 10-15% of patients with gout);
  • Osteomyelitis is an inflammatory condition of the bones (accounting for 6. 5% of all diseases of the musculoskeletal system).

Most arthritis, in which the knuckles are first involved in this process, are systemic (that is, they affect different systems of the body, not just the joints).They are often diagnosed equally in people of all ages, including young people; In men, they occur 3-5 times less often.

Another cause of pain is mechanical trauma as a result of blows or bruising of the hand (not uncommon in athletes, common up to 40% of all traumatic injuries). love).

Some diseases that cause pain in the joints of the fingers cannot be completely cured, over time they become the cause of disability (rheumatism, psoriasis, polyarthritis). And, for example, osteomyelitis with prompt treatment can be permanent, but the process quickly becomes chronic and can lead to the loss of a limb (in 30% of cases).

If systemic disease (arthritis, polyarthritis) is suspected, you should consult a rheumatologist or rheumatologist. Osteomyelitis is treated by orthopedic surgeons, surgeons, traumatologists - orthopedic traumatologists.

Why does finger joint pain occur: causes and symptoms

Why do finger joints hurt? There are many reasons, as well as factors that can speed up or accelerate the process. Risk factors common to all diseases and injuries can be considered:

  1. Occupation (this category includes people who have to work with brushes and fingers, musicians, seamstresses, programmers).
  2. Load (injuries and minor injuries caused by many hours of sports training, drills).
  3. Hormonal changes, disorders (pregnancy, lack of estrogen in elderly women).
  4. Genetics (blood relatives are more susceptible to systemic diseases).
  5. Immune system diseases or deficiencies.
  6. Metabolic disorders (gout, diabetes).
  7. Chronic infection (tuberculosis).
  8. Hypothermia (hypothermia).
  9. Several long-term negative factors (among them - taking drugs, intoxication with a toxic substance at a hazardous factory, smoking, alcoholism, etc. ).

Diseases and conditions that cause finger joint pain are described below in the article.


Pain that occurs after an injury can hardly be confused with anything else:

  • all symptoms occur immediately after a blow, bruise, compression, and other trauma;
  • swelling, bruising at the site of impact, reduced mobility of the participating joints causing sharp pain;
  • with moderate and severe lesions, the symptoms do not subside for a long time, but become more pronounced - pain, stiffness, swelling;
  • discomfort increases when trying to bend or straighten the fingers.

Serious injuries to the fingers of the upper extremity are associated with:

  • rupture of muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, hemorrhage into cysts (metastasis) and soft tissues (hematoma);
  • broken and cracked bones;
  • nerve damage (loss of sensation in fingers and skin).

Prognosis: minor wounds heal without leaving a trace in 90–95% of cases. Severe and moderate injuries can result in a variety of complications - from impaired finger sensitivity to traumatic arthritis in 70%.

Osteoarthritis Polyost

Polyarthritis of the thumb is a chronic disease, as a result of which the joints of the fingers are gradually deformed and destroyed (there is a form of the disease affecting the joints of the thumb - osteoarthritis of the thumb).

Hand affected by polyarticular deformity

At first, pain occurs after hard work (sewing, embroidery, long hours of practice on an instrument). As the disease progresses:

  • constant pain in the joints of the fingers, which does not go away with rest;
  • clicks and crunches (during movement) associated with pain sensations;
  • hardness appears (insignificant initially).

During exacerbations, edema, swelling, increased local temperature and sometimes redness in the joint area are the main symptoms.

Over time, the fingers become deformed:

  1. On the joints located near the nail, Heberden nodules (growing on the bone, the size of a pea) are formed.
  2. Bouchard's nodules (joint surface hyperplasia, osteophytes) form on the medial joints.

The joints of the fingers lose their original shape (becoming nodules), and over time, they lose mobility due to hardening of the soft tissues (arthritis).

Prognosis: the pathology cannot be cured, but in the early stages (until the appearance of deformity) can be suspended for a long time. Then it becomes the cause of disability (tissues grow together, decay, mobility of the fingers can only be restored by surgery).

Rheumatoid arthritis

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

Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by:

  • a gradual increase and increase in symptoms (at first, exacerbations are replaced by rather long periods of asymptomatic episodes, but they become shorter over time);
  • morning stiffness, reminiscent of tight gloves (disappear in 30-60 minutes);
  • Sharp, sharp, stinging pain in the knuckles (on both hands), when bending will increase to an intolerable level;
  • redness, swelling, edema, stiffness.

Pain syndrome usually occurs at night or in the morning and subsides in the afternoon.

When acute symptoms subside (during remission), the pain is less pronounced, aching, increases with exercise, when working in cold water. The joints on the fingers are painful when flexing and extending, still painful to the touch, and slightly swollen.

Gradually, the disease leads to the formation of stable deformity and dysfunction of the fingers - they are turned outward or upward, flexed (middle, index and unnamed fingers are more commonly affected). , very rarely - little and large fingers), other joints involved in the process (wrist, ankle, knee, shoulder). . .

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

Psoriatic arthritis

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

The most characteristic signs of finger joint damage:

  • sudden, sudden onset of arthritis;
  • beat the intervertebral and distal joints (closer to the nail);
  • Constant, even, severe pain combined with extensive swelling, redness of the skin, limited mobility (finger shape now resembles radish or sausage, unable to bend or crack knuckles because of painful swelling). );
  • general increase in temperature.

In the long term, nails are destroyed (broken, lose shape), deformed fingers (turned outward or upward), disabled.

Prognosis: Arthritis psoriasis is incurable, difficult to cure, rapidly progressive, and leads to disability in 90–95% of patients.

Gout arthritis

Gout arthritis occurs on the basis of a metabolic disorder, as a result of which excess uric acid accumulates in the body. It sheds onto the tissue of the joint, causing inflammation.

Deposit of uric acid crystals in the soft tissues of gouty arthritis fingers

Typical symptoms of gouty arthritis include:

  1. Sharp, sudden, sharp or burning pain in one or more joints of the finger.
  2. Any attempt to move or touch your finger will aggravate the uncomfortable symptom.
  3. It is accompanied by severe edema, often spreading to the whole hand, changes in skin color (fingers on the hands become blue-violet), general increase in temperature (patients have fever, chills).
  4. Pain in the knuckles often occurs at night.
  5. Attacks can last from 2 days to 2 weeks.

Progressive gouty arthritis becomes the reason for the involvement of new joints in their deformity (destruction of the joint surface). Warts, tissue where uric acid is deposited, appear on the fingers.

Prognosis: Gout cannot be cured, but uric acid levels can be maintained with medication and diet. The disease rarely completely disables the patient (5–8%), but over time it can destroy the knuckles (secondary arthropathy).

Why can finger joints hurt?

Other causes of pain include the following diseases and conditions:


This infectious lesion of the bone (periosteum, spongy and solid) often begins sharply - arthralgia in osteomyelitis is sharp, sharp, convulsive, ruptured or lacrimal. When folded or stretched, it increases to an intolerable level, accompanied by severe swelling, redness and thickening of the tissues over the joint, fever, and general signs of toxicity (asthenia, sweating). In 30% of cases, osteomyelitis becomes chronic (may recur), and the fingers become painful. This process can cause purulent arthritis, malignancy of bone tissue, and deformity of bones and joints.


Vasospasm is a severe narrowing of the peripheral vessels that supply blood to the upper extremities, hands, and finger joints. It is characterized by tingling, numbness, and pallor on the skin. At the end of the attack (which can be short - from 2 minutes, or long - up to 60 minutes), the fingers begin to ache, "tender" and the skin of the hands turns red. Over time, a similar phenomenon (vasospasm) becomes the cause of the appearance of trophic ulcers (necrosis of tissues due to lack of nutrition), bone melting and necrosis of the fingertips.


Pregnancy is not a medical condition, however, it is accompanied by drastic and rapid hormonal changes in the body, a rapid metabolism. Pain in the joints on the fingers, or rather aching, can cause a deficiency of calcium and vitamin D3, as well as an excess of the hormone that prepares the body for childbirth by stretching the ligaments.

Diagnosis: methods, studies

What to do when finger joints hurt? First of all, it is necessary to diagnose the pathologies that cause such a symptom. Usually, the attending physician prescribes several studies:

Method name What allows you to diagnose?

X ray

With its help, pathological changes in the bones, joint deformities, crystal deposition, histochemistry are detected

MRI, CT or ultrasound

These diagnostic methods allow you to identify any pathological changes in the tissues around the joints and joints that cannot be seen on radiographs.

Electrocardiogram, ultrasound of internal organs

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


Vascular studies provide information for pathologies that occur with damage to their walls and can cause vasospasm (rheumatoid arthritis).

Clinical laboratory studies

With the help of analyzes, the cause of the disease is determined, the infection and the pathogen of the pathological process are discovered

Treatment and diagnosis of arthrocentesis (procedure to extract fluid from the joint capsule)

A puncture is done if blood (metastatic disease), pus (infectious process) or a large amount of fluid has accumulated in it, impeding its ability to move and threatening to destroy it.

Treatment: principles, drugs, features

Certain diseases or conditions that cause pain in the finger joints of the hand cannot be cured (vasospasticity, osteoarthritis, psoriasis, gouty arthritis). Some are completely cured and leave no consequences (with timely treatment - osteomyelitis, mild and moderate trauma).

General principles of treatment, methods of pain relief

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

Usually this:

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

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

Physiotherapy stimulates metabolism, accelerates tissue regeneration. Among the physical therapy procedures for joint diseases, the most common are:

  • electrophoresis with drugs;
  • acupuncture therapy;
  • UHF (ultra-high frequency therapy);
  • acupressure (acupuncture);
  • Massage;
  • mud therapy;
  • balneotherapy (hydrotherapy);
  • heating process (application of paraffin, ozokerite);
  • gymnastics (exercises to strengthen the joints of the fingers).

If it is necessary to eliminate pain in the joints of the fingers and their causes, treatment in a sanatorium can give a good outcome. Under the guidance of the attending physician, the patient has the opportunity to change the climate 1 or 2 times a year, participate in restorative physiotherapy courses, drink mineral water from natural sources.

Features 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 Features


Treat trauma in stages. First, the victim is given first aid (immobilization, ice for 24 hours).

If necessary, a puncture is made, the integrity of the tissues is restored (in case of severe damage) and fixed with a plaster.

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

Osteoarthritis Polyost

In the early stages of the disease, the use of chondroprotectors and physiotherapeutic exercises is effective.

Then only the operation helps (problem solved with the prosthesis).

Rheumatoid arthritis

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

Psoriatic arthritis

Gout arthritis

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

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


Surgical washing of pus-filled spaces in bone tissue, opening the abscess is performed.

For treatment, antibiotics, antibacterial drugs are used.


How to treat vasospasm? In pathology, vasodilators and antispasmodics (relaxes the muscles of the vessel walls), blood thinners are prescribed.

Remove predisposing factors (eg, smoking) or treat the underlying disease, counteracting the vasospasm that occurs (eg, rheumatoid arthritis).

Folk remedies (treatment of diseases, pain relief)

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

  1. Infusion on eucalyptus leaves. Take 40 g of eucalyptus leaves, pour a liter of boiling water, let stand for 60 minutes under the lid. When possible, filter the water, put it in a dark glass container, and store it in the refrigerator. Drink every day for 2 weeks - 3 times 50 ml each, 30 minutes before meals.
  2. Cure finger joint pain with black currant leaves. Pour 10 g of ingredients with 0. 5 liters of boiling water, cover and incubate for 20 minutes. Drink a glass 2 to 3 times a day. The duration of the course is 2-3 months.
  3. Warming ointment for arthritis. Take 50 g of camphor powder and mustard powder each, dilute in turn in 100 ml of alcohol, add egg whites, beat foam. Rub into brush overnight. For the treatment of knuckles continue for 21 days, after a while can repeat the course.
  4. Massage oil. Dilute fir essential oil with vegetable oil (1: 1), massage into knuckles until completely absorbed before going to bed. First, they need to "warm up": boil the washed potato skins in water, when the water cools down (to the desired warmth), dip the brush in it and keep it for about 15-25 minutes, then rinse withClean water. They continue to be treated this way for 3 weeks or until the symptoms of the disease disappear.


How to prevent diseases that cause pain in finger joints? For this you need:

  • quit bad habits (give up smoking and alcohol);
  • include in the diet foods that are beneficial for joints and cartilage tissue (with adequate levels of calcium, phosphorus, other minerals and vitamins and proteins);
  • undergo regular examinations, eliminate foci of chronic infection (for example, tonsillitis);
  • do not overload (alternate load with rest) and do not overcool hands.

It is extremely important to strengthen the immune system (swimming, yoga, walking) and knuckles with nourishing exercises.