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

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

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

Also, pain in the finger joints is a typical 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 are the first to suffer).
  • gout (arthritis affecting the fingers, 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 of the arthritis, in which the finger joints are initially involved in the process, are systemic diseases (that is, they affect different systems of the body, not just the joints).They are equally commonly diagnosed in people of any age, including young people; in men, they occur 3-5 times less often.

Another cause of pain is mechanical injury, the consequences of blows or bruises on the hands (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 can not 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 one limb (in 30% of cases).

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

Why pain occurs in the joints of the fingers: causes and symptoms

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

  1. Occupation (this category includes people who have to work with brushes and fingers, musicians, seamstresses, programmers).
  2. Loading (injuries and minor injuries resulting from hours of sports training, rehearsals).
  3. Hormonal changes, disorders (pregnancy, lack of estrogen in older women).
  4. Heredity (close relatives are more prone to systemic diseases).
  5. Deficiencies or diseases of the immune system.
  6. Metabolic disorders (gout, diabetes).
  7. Chronic infections (tuberculosis).
  8. Hypothermia (hypothermia).
  9. Some long-term negative factors (among them - taking drugs, poisoning with toxic substances in a dangerous business, smoking, alcoholism, etc. ).

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


The pain that occurs after an injury is difficult to confuse with anything else:

  • all symptoms appear immediately after blow, bruise, compression and other injuries.
  • swelling, bruising at the point of impact, reduced joint mobility join the acute pain.
  • with moderate and severe damage, the symptoms do not subside for a long time, but become more intense - pain, stiffness, swelling.
  • the discomfort increases when you try to bend or straighten your fingers.

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

  • ruptures of muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, bleeding into the capsule (hemorrhage) and soft tissues (hematomas).
  • fractures and cracks in the bones;
  • nerve damage (loss of sensation in the fingers and skin).

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


Polyosteoarthritis is a chronic pathology, with the result that the joints of the fingers gradually become deformed and destroyed (there is a form of the disease that affects the joints of the thumbs - re-arthrosis).

Hands affected by deforming polyosteoarthritis

In the beginning, the pain appears after hard work (sewing, embroidery, many hours of rehearsals on a musical instrument). As the disease progresses:

  • the pain in the finger joints becomes constant, does not subside at rest.
  • Clicks and stinging (during movements) unite the painful sensations.
  • stiffness appears (initially insignificant).

In periods of exacerbation, edema, edema, increase in local temperature and sometimes redness in the joint area are associated with the main symptoms.

Over time, the fingers become deformed:

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

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

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

Rheumatoid arthritis

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

Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by:

  • gradual increase and increase in symptoms (in the beginning, the exacerbation is replaced by rather long periods 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 unbearable.
  • redness, swelling, swelling, stiffness of the joints.

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

When the acute symptoms subside (during the recession), the pain becomes less intense, it hurts, it increases in movement, when you work in cold water. The joints in the fingers hurt when bending and stretching, they remain painful to the touch and slightly swollen.

Gradually, the disease leads to the formation of a permanent deformity and dysfunction of the fingers - they turn outwards or upwards, bend (the waist, index and middle fingers are affected more often, very rarely - the little finger and the big toes), other jointsinvolved in the process (wrists, ankles, knees, shoulders). . .

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


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

The most common signs of damage to the finger joints:

  • sudden, sudden onset of arthritis.
  • defeat of the interphalangeal and peripheral (closest to the nail) joints.
  • continuous, uniform, intense pain in combination with extensive swelling, redness of the skin, limited mobility (the shape of the fingers at the moment looks like a radish or sausage, it is impossible to bend or untie the finger joints due to pain and swelling)
  • increase in total temperature.

In the long run, it leads to destruction of the nail plates (they crumble, lose their shape), deformity of the fingers ("turn" outwards or upwards) and disability.

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


Gout occurs in the context of metabolic disorders, due to which excess uric acid accumulates in the body. It falls on the tissue of the joints, causing inflammation.

Deposition of uric acid crystals in the soft tissues of the fingers with gout

Typical signs of gout:

  1. Sharp, sudden, throbbing or burning pain in one or more finger joints.
  2. Any attempt to move your finger or touch it aggravates the unpleasant symptom.
  3. It is accompanied by severe swelling, which often spreads to the whole hand, change in skin color (the finger in the hand becomes blue-purple), increase 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 gout becomes the cause for the involvement of new joints in the process, their deformation (destruction of the joint surfaces). Swelling, deposits of uric acid tissue appear on the fingers.

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 arthropathy).

Why else can the finger joints ache?

Other causes of pain include the following diseases and conditions:


This infectious bone damage (periosteum, spongy and solid substance) usually starts acutely - the joint pain in osteomyelitis is strong, sharp, contracting, popping or tearing. When bent or stretched it increases to unbearable, accompanied by intense swelling, redness and thickening of the tissues above the joint, fever and signs of general intoxication (weakness, sweating). In 30% of cases, osteomyelitis becomes chronic (it can recur) and the pain in the fingers becomes pain. The procedure can cause purulent arthritis, malignancy of bone tissue, deformity of bones and joints.

Vascular spasm

Angiospasm is a sudden narrowing of the peripheral blood vessels that supply blood to the upper limbs, hands, and finger joints. It is characterized by tingling, numbness, paleness of the 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 reddens. Over time, a similar phenomenon (angiospasm) becomes the cause of food ulcers (tissue necrosis due to malnutrition), bone fusion and necrosis of the fingertips.


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

Diagnostics: methods, research

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

Method name What allows you to make a diagnosis


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

MRI, CT or ultrasound

These diagnostic methods allow you to detect 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 extraarticular manifestations characteristic of certain diseases (pericarditis, pneumonitis)


The study of blood vessels is informative for pathologies that appear with damage to their walls and can cause angiospasm (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 for extraction of fluid from the joint capsule)

The puncture is performed if blood (hemorrhage), pus (infectious processes) or a large amount of fluid has accumulated, which impede mobility and threatens to destroy it.

Treatment: principles, drugs, characteristics

Some of the diseases or conditions that cause pain in the joints of the fingers can not be cured (angiospasm, osteoarthritis, psoriatic, gout). Some are completely and without consequences (with early treatment - osteomyelitis, minor injuries and moderate).

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 get rid of serious symptoms.

Usually this:

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

Once the symptoms subside, it is prescribed to the patient: chondroprotectants to slow down or prevent cartilage destruction and physical therapy.

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

  • electrophoresis with drugs.
  • magnetotherapy?
  • UHF (extremely high frequency therapy);
  • reflexology (acupuncture);
  • massage;
  • mud therapy;
  • spa therapy (hydrotherapy);
  • heating processes (paraffin applications, ozokerite).
  • therapeutic gymnastics (exercises to strengthen the finger joints).

If it is necessary to eliminate the pain in the finger joints and their causes, sanatorium treatment can give a good result. Under the direction of the treating physician, the patient has the opportunity to change the climate 1 or 2 times a year, to take a course of rehabilitation of physiotherapy procedures, to 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 any pathology:

Pathology Characteristics of treatment


The wound is treated gradually. Initially, the victim is given first aid (bandage fixation, ice compression for 24 hours).

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

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


At the onset of the disease, the use of chondroprotectants and physiotherapy exercises are effective.

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

Rheumatoid arthritis

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



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


The purulent cavities in the bone tissue are surgically washed, abscesses are opened.

For treatment, antibiotics, antibacterial drugs are used.

Vascular spasm

How is vasospasm treated? In pathology, vasodilators and antispasmodics (relaxation of the muscles of the vascular walls), blood thinners are prescribed.

Eliminate the triggers (for example, smoking) or treat the underlying disease, against which angiospasm has developed (for example, rheumatoid arthritis).

Folk remedies (treatment of pathologies, pain relief)

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

  1. Infusion of eucalyptus leaves. Take 40 g of eucalyptus leaves, pour a liter of boiling water, let it stand for 60 minutes under the lid. When it is ready, strain it, drain it in a dark glass container, store it in the refrigerator. Take daily for 2 weeks - 3 times 50 ml, 30 minutes before meals.
  2. Treatment of pain in the joints of the fingers with infusion of black currant leaves. Pour 10 g of raw materials with 0. 5 liters of boiling water, let it boil under the lid for 20 minutes. Drink a glass 2 to 3 times a day. The duration of the course is 2-3 months.
  3. Heating ointment for arthritis. Take 50 g of camphor and mustard powder each, dilute them in turn in 100 ml of alcohol, add the egg white, beaten into a foam. Rub in a brush overnight. The treatment of the finger joints continues for 21 days, after a while the course can be repeated.
  4. Rubbing oil. Dilute the fir essential oil with vegetable oil (1: 1), rub on the finger joints until it is completely absorbed before going to bed. First, they must be "warmed up": boil the washed potato peel in water, when the broth has cooled (to warm up pleasantly), dip the brushes in it and hold them for 15-25 minutes and then rinse with clean water. They continue to be treated 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 (quit smoking and alcohol).
  • Include in the diet foods that are useful for the joints and cartilage tissue (with sufficient content of calcium, phosphorus, other minerals and vitamins, proteins).
  • undergo regular examinations, get rid of foci of chronic infection (for example, tonsillitis).
  • do not overload (alternating load with rest) and do not overcool your hands.

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