Why do finger joints hurt: causes and treatment

It is hard to imagine a person's life without little helpers and workers - fingers. They carefully hold a cup of coffee, write tirelessly, do all the small and difficult work. Due to this high performance, fingers are susceptible to a number of diseases. In order not to bring pathological processes to irreversible consequences, it is necessary to know why the joints of the hands hurt, how they can be cured.

What is finger joint pain

The human musculoskeletal system contains over 300 joints. The fingers of the hands contain the smallest and most mobile ones. The articular joints at the ends of the hands have a thin synovial membrane and a small articular surface, therefore they are often exposed to various diseases. Each finger on the hand consists of three joints (proximal phalangeal, middle phalangeal, distal interphalangeal) and three bones (proximal, middle, distal phalanx).

Pain can be caused by inflammation of the joints. Against the background of hypothermia of the hands, soreness may occur, accompanied by cyanosis of the skin, which subsequently turns into redness. As a result of injury or compression of the wrist joint, paroxysmal pain occurs. Sharp and cutting sensations, accompanied by a feeling of electric current passing through the fingers, can indicate cervical osteochondrosis.

The duration of symptoms depends on the cause of the disease. The longer to ignore pain syndromes in the hands, the more their motor activity is disturbed. If the first signs of developing diseases of the fingers are not treated, irreversible deformation of the joints can be allowed, in which a person is given disability.

Most Dangerous Complications:

  • bone necrosis;
  • osteomyelitis (purulent-necrotic process that develops in the bone);
  • osteolysis (complete resorption of bone tissue elements);
  • generalized sepsis (purulent infection.

Why do fingers hurt

As a rule, pain in the joints of the upper extremities is a symptom of developing diseases of the hands. Often, such symptoms indicate manifestations of diseases of other organs. Pain in the phalanges is a sign of cervical osteochondrosis, ischemic heart disease, and peripheral nerve pathologies. If the joints of the fingers hurt, it is important to quickly determine the cause in order to identify possible risk factors for human health.


The following conditions can cause painful joints when flexing the phalanges:

causes of pain in the joints of the fingers
  1. Pinching of the spinal nerves. It occurs when nerve roots extending from the spinal cord squeeze hernias, cartilage, tumors, spasmodic muscles, tendons, or other vertebrae.
  2. Osteoarthritis. Degeneration of the articular cartilage and the development of osteophytes on the bones occurs, which leads to impaired mobility.
  3. Tunnel Syndrome. There is a pinching of the median nerve, which passes to the palm through the carpal tunnel, which protects the nerve fibers from compression. Subsequently, it can lead to tendovaginitis - an inflammatory disease of the tendons and tendon sheaths;
  4. Stenosing ligamentitis. It is characterized by blockage of the phalanges in an extended or bent position. More often the joint of the thumb on the hand hurts. Pathology refers to diseases of the tendon-ligamentous apparatus.
  5. Rhizarthrosis. Deformation of the cartilaginous plates in the articular joint of the thumb occurs after injury or excessive stress.
  6. Vibration sickness. An occupational disease that occurs when working with a vibrating instrument.

The joints of the fingers are swollen and sore

Both elderly patients and young people face the problem of puffiness. Sometimes fingers swell due to fluid retention in the body, but if they also hurt, then this may indicate pathological changes in bone joints.

The reasons for this condition may be the following:

  • open wounds, abrasions, cuts;
  • fractures, dislocations, injuries;
  • insect bites;
  • neuropathy of the radial nerve;
  • pathology of the heart and / or kidneys;
  • fibromyalgia (muscle and joint pain);
  • polycythemia (abnormal increase in the number of red blood cells in the blood);
  • bursitis (inflammation of the joint capsule);
  • osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone tissue);
  • chronic arthritis of various origins (rheumatoid, gouty, septic, neglected, purulent and others).

In the morning

Any disease of the joints of the fingers is manifested by pain in the morning. In order to prevent the progression of the pathology, it is necessary to make an accurate diagnosis, and for this to undergo an appropriate examination. More often fingers hurt in the morning with arthritis of various origins. The disease may not be infectious in nature, but manifest itself due to disorders of the immune system.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the articular cartilage of the index fingers is more likely to hurt, on which small seals are visible. With this pathology, symmetrical joint damage on two hands can also develop. Infectious arthritis affects several fingers at once and develops under the influence of viruses or bacteria. In addition to pain, there is an increase in body temperature in the morning, intoxication of the whole body. Phalanges hurt in the morning and with psoriatic arthritis, and with gout, and with osteoarthritis.

The latter disease, in addition to morning pains, is characterized by stiffness and stiffness. Most often, osteoarthritis is observed in middle-aged women, since its development is associated with fluctuations in estrogen levels. Gout can be identified by intolerable paroxysmal pain in the morning or at night, accompanied by redness and swelling of the joint.

Sharp pain

Stenosing wrist ligamentitis is accompanied by burning pain in all fingers except the little finger. Burning and numbness is felt not only at the ends of the hand, but also along the entire length of the palm. Symptoms get worse at night and get better during the day. Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is also accompanied by sharp pain in the joints of the extremities, but numbness appears only in the little finger.

Panaritium (purulent inflammation of the tissues of the hand) can also provoke such a symptom. Disease arises as a result of infectious infection. The pain is sharp, twitching, and gradually intensifies, especially at night. The phalanges swell, turn red, touching them is very painful, and the body temperature often rises. Panaritium requires prompt medical attention, otherwise a person cannot avoid serious complications.

In Raynaud's syndrome, at first, there is a cold and spasm in the vessels, and then, due to impaired blood flow, a person feels a sharp pain in the fingers, which swell and turn blue. In the third stage of the disease, when the blood flow improves, these symptoms disappear. A painful attack lasts from several minutes to half an hour. Raynaud's disease is a consequence of atherosclerosis of the extremities, so it must be treated first.

During pregnancy

Why do finger joints hurt during pregnancy and after childbirth? Gynecologists know for sure.

When the extremities swell while carrying a child, this indicates the following pathologies:

why do the joints of the fingers hurt during pregnancy
  • presence of joint diseases;
  • an increase in the level of relaxin, a hormone responsible for softening the ligaments;
  • entrapment of the median nerve;
  • lack of calcium in the body;
  • fibromyalgia due to depression.

Painful sensations can pass quickly, and sometimes get worse every day. Often this happens at 35 weeks of gestation, which is associated with a rapid weight gain, which causes compression of the nerve trunks that connect the hand to the arm.

The problem is that a woman is haunted not only by joint pain, but also by other symptoms:

  • burning, itching of the palms;
  • sudden sharp pain in the forearm;
  • numbness of the upper limbs.

After exercise

The appearance of painful symptoms in the hands after any physical activity is a clear sign of vascular disease. Painful sensations are accompanied by joint numbness, cramps, and rapid hand fatigue. The skin becomes pale and cold, the hairline thins, the nail plates thicken. Pathology over time acquires a chronic form, as a result of which it becomes impossible to feel the pulse on the radial artery, the lumen of the vessels narrows, the blood flow of the extremities is disturbed. The pains become constant and reappear even with light exertion.

As a person ages, cartilage becomes thinner, becomes fragile, and a crunch is heard when moving. If pain in the hands appears after physical exertion, then this symptomatology may indicate developing polyosteoarthritis. The disease is characterized by destructive changes in the joints that hurt when the fingers are used or before the weather changes. It is difficult for a person to straighten and bend the brush. The pain syndrome subsides when hand work is excluded.


Early diagnosis will help remove the symptoms of joint diseases and completely heal. Only an experienced specialist (neuropathologist, surgeon, traumatologist) can accurately determine the cause of this symptomatology. The diagnosis is made based on the results of examinations and the patient's history. When collecting information, the nature of the complaints, the time of the onset of the first pains, the presence of articular pathologies in the next of kin are found out. Family predisposition in the development of arthritis and arthrosis plays an important role.

Research needed for complaints of pain in the joints of the extremities:

  • radiography;
  • ultrasound examination;
  • computed tomography;
  • electrospondylography (computer diagnostics of the spine);
  • magnetic resonance imaging;
  • contrasting discography;
  • blood and synovial fluid tests;
  • puncture (drug injection into the lump cavity);
  • skin biopsy.


Therapeutic tactics are determined by the type of pathology, the severity of symptoms, the dynamics of the inflammatory process, and the peculiarities of the clinical course of the disease. When prescribing drug treatment, the patient's hypersensitivity to the active components of the drugs is taken into account. Complex treatment involves the appointment of chondroprotectors, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), glucocorticosteroids.

In addition to drugs, local massage is prescribed, specially designed gymnastic exercises. An excellent therapeutic effect can be achieved with the help of acupuncture and other types of physiotherapy procedures.

Diet-table number 10 must be assigned the main rules of which:

  • reducing salt intake;
  • once a week fasting days for vegetables and dairy products;
  • a diet without tomatoes, sorrel, spicy dishes, fatty meats.

In case of joint pain, doctors recommend a spa treatment. For each patient, doctors select an individual rehabilitation program that will be most effective in each specific case. The sanatorium teaches healthy lifestyle skills, conducts therapeutic exercises, physiotherapy, massage. As a rule, after such treatment, the patient for a long time forgets about the relapses of the disease.


When prescribing medications, two goals are pursued: relief of the inflammatory process and elimination of pain. Basically, doctors use cyclooxygenase inhibitors (NSAIDs), and if the cause of the disease lies in an autoimmune pathology, then steroid drugs are prescribed. In an acute infectious process, antibiotics can be used.

Topical medications (creams, ointments, gels) are prescribed to quickly relieve symptoms. With dystrophic lesions of the articular surfaces, it is recommended to use chondroprotectors.


Medication alone is not enough for arthritis or arthrosis of the fingers. Specialists in the period of remission of the disease suggest taking courses of therapeutic massage, the number of sessions of which the doctor will determine individually. The procedure begins with kneading each section of the hand. If the patient does not feel severe pain, then the effect on the affected joints begins already in the first session.

The preparatory stage of the massage is to warm up the arm from the elbow to the fingers with spiral movements. The patient is in a sitting position, the hand is placed on the table, the bent elbow rests on the support, and a roller is placed under the hand. After warming up, the specialist kneads each finger separately with stroking movements without affecting the joints. For the best effect, 2-3 approaches are done.


Physiotherapy helps to speed up recovery, relieve symptoms and prevent complications.

Patients who experience severe pain in the fingers are advised to pay attention to the following techniques:

  • Electrophoresis. Treatment is based on deep injections of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs under the skin. The procedure takes place under the influence of a constant electric current. The course of treatment is 10 procedures, 25 minutes each.
  • Ultrasound therapy. During the session, tissue micromassage is carried out using ultrasonic vibrations with a frequency of 800-900 kHz. Ultrasound activates metabolic processes, removes excess uric acid, increases local immunity. The exposure time is 1-5 minutes per zone. The session lasts 12-15 minutes. The course of treatment is 10-12 procedures.
  • Microwave (microwave therapy). The treatment is based on the use of electromagnetic oscillations with a wave of up to 1 m. The impact is aimed at restoring biological processes and functional systems of cellular structures. The duration of exposure is 8-12 minutes. The number of sessions - from 2 to 12.
  • Thermal procedures. Includes exposure of affected joints to heat. Steam baths are used with the addition of essential oils, salts or herbs. The duration of the course is 12-20 procedures, 15-20 minutes each.
  • Barotherapy. Treatment in a pressure chamber with low or high pressure helps to saturate the body with oxygen, which provokes muscles, tissues and joints to recover faster. The duration of the procedure is 60 minutes. The full course includes 22-25 sessions.

Folk remedies

Alternative treatment will help prevent the destruction of articular cartilage in the fingers.

Most Popular Recipes:

  • Take a thick fermented milk product, mix with oatmeal, which must be pre-chopped. Leave the mixture on sore fingers overnight, wrapped in a cloth;
  • Pass 500 g of Kalanchoe through a meat grinder, pour 1 liter of vodka, leave for 5 days. After the tincture, rub it daily into sore joints;
  • Mix 1 tbsp. l. olive oil with a few drops of freshly squeezed garlic. Drink in the morning on an empty stomach


In order not to suffer from inflammatory processes in the joints of the fingers and not to treat arthrosis and arthritis for a long time, it is necessary to adhere to simple preventive measures:

  • keep your hands warm;
  • exclude alcohol, cigarettes;
  • include more fruits and vegetables in the daily menu;
  • not tolerate colds on the legs;
  • remove the habit of "clicking" your fingers;
  • replace tea and coffee with herbal decoctions;
  • control body weight.