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

Finger joints begin to ache after the age of 40-45 (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 (lesions, destruction of articular cartilage of various joints).

10% of older people are diagnosed with deformity and destruction of the joints of the hands.

In addition, pain in the joints of the fingers is a characteristic symptom of the following diseases:

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

Most arthritis in which the joints of the fingers are first involved in the process are systemic diseases (ie they affect not only the joints, but also various systems of the body).They are equally often diagnosed in people of all ages, including young people, and are 3-5 times less common in men.

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

Some diseases that cause pain in the joints of the fingers can not be completely cured, and over time lead to disability (rheumatoid, psoriatic arthritis, polyosteoarthritis). And, for example, with timely treatment you can get rid of osteomyelitis forever, but the process quickly becomes chronic and can lead to the loss of a joint (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, trauma - orthopedic traumatologist.

Why joint pain in the fingers occurs: causes and symptoms

Why do the joints of the fingers hurt? In addition to the factors that speed up or push the process, there are many reasons. Common predisposing factors for all diseases and injuries can be considered:

  1. Profession (this category includes people who have to work with brushes and fingers, musicians, seamstresses, programmers).
  2. Loads (hourly workouts, workout injuries and microtraumas).
  3. Hormonal changes, disorders (pregnancy, estrogen deficiency in older women).
  4. Heredity (close relatives are more susceptible to systemic diseases).
  5. Deficiency or diseases of the immune system.
  6. Metabolic disorders (gout, diabetes mellitus).
  7. Chronic infections (tuberculosis).
  8. Hypothermia (hypothermia).
  9. Some long-term negative factors (among them - taking drugs, poisoning in a hazardous facility, smoking, alcoholism, etc. ).

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


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

  • all symptoms occur immediately after a blow, bruise, compression and other injuries;
  • swelling, bruising at the site of impact, impaired mobility of the joints are associated with acute pain;
  • With moderate to severe injury, the symptoms do not decrease for a long time, but become more pronounced - pain, stiffness, swelling;
  • Anxiety increases when you try to bend or straighten your fingers.

Severe injuries of the fingers of the upper extremity are associated with:

  • rupture of muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, capsule bleeding (hemarthrosis) and soft tissues (hematomas);
  • bone fractures and cracks;
  • nerve damage (loss of sensitivity 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 70% of finger sensitivity disorders 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 thumbs - rhizarthrosis).

Hands affected by polyosteoarthritis deformities

Initially, the aching pain appears after hard work (sewing, embroidery, many hours of training on a musical instrument). As the disease progresses:

  • pain in the joints of the fingers is constant, does not pass at rest;
  • clicks and crunching (during movements) join the painful sensations;
  • stiffness is visible (insignificant at first).

During the exacerbation, edema, swelling, local fever and sometimes redness in the joints are added to the main symptoms.

Fingers become deformed over time:

  1. Heberden's nodules (bony growths, pea-sized seals) form in the joints closer to the nails.
  2. Bouchard nodes (proliferation of joint surfaces, bone vertebrae) are formed in the middle joints.

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

Prognosis: The pathology is incurable, but can be stopped for a long time in the early stages (until the deformity appears). Later, it causes disability (tissues grow together, ossify, and finger mobility can only be restored surgically).

Rheumatoid arthritis

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

Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by:

  • gradual increase and increase in symptoms (initially the exacerbation is replaced by a fairly long asymptomatic course, but shortens over time);
  • morning stiffness reminiscent of tight gloves (disappears in 30-60 minutes);
  • sharp, sharp, dull pain in the joints of the fingers (both hands), increases unbearably when bent;
  • 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), pain is less pronounced when working in cold water, aches, and movement increases. The joints in the fingers ache during bending and stretching, remain painful to the touch, and are slightly swollen.

Gradually, the disease causes permanent deformation and dysfunction of the fingers - they turn outwards or upwards, bend (middle, index and ring fingers are more often affected, very rarely - the little finger and thumb), 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 in the first 5 years of development.

Psoriatic arthritis

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

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

  • sudden, sudden onset of arthritis;
  • defeat of the interphalangeal and distal (closer to the nail) joints;
  • extensive swelling, redness of the skin, constant, even, severe pain combined with limited mobility (at this time the shape of the fingers resembles a radish or sausage, it is impossible to bend or bend the joints of the fingers due to pain and swelling); );
  • increase in total temperature.

In the long run, this leads to the destruction of nail plates (collapses, loses their shape), deformation of the fingers (they "turn" outwards or upwards) and disability.

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

Gout arthritis

Gout arthritis occurs against the background of metabolic disorders, so the body accumulates excess uric acid. It falls into the tissue of the joints, causing inflammation.

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

Typical symptoms of gouty arthritis:

  1. Acute, sudden, throbbing or burning pain in one or more joints of the fingers.
  2. Any attempt to move or touch your finger exacerbates the unpleasant symptom.
  3. Often, severe edema, which spreads to the whole hand, is accompanied by a change in skin color (finger becomes bluish-purple), an increase in general temperature (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 arthritis causes new joints to become involved in the process, deforming them (destroying joint surfaces). Tofus, tissue deposits of uric acid, 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 can destroy the joints of the fingers (secondary osteoarthritis).

Why can other finger joints hurt?

Other causes of pain include the following diseases and conditions:


This infectious lesion of the bones (periosteum, sponge, and compact substance) usually begins acutely - in osteomyelitis, joint pain is intense, sharp, twitching, exploding, or tearing. Severe swelling, redness and thickening of the tissues over the joint during fever or stretching, fever and general signs of general intoxication (weakness, sweating) increase unbearably. In 30% of cases, osteomyelitis is chronic (recurrent), with pain in the fingers. The process can lead to purulent arthritis, malignancy of bone tissue, and deformity of bones and joints.


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


Pregnancy is not a pathological condition, however, 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 of the hormone that prepares the body for childbirth by relaxing the ligaments.

Diagnostics: methods, research

What to do when you have joint pain in the fingers? First of all, it is necessary to identify the pathologies that cause such a symptom. The attending physician often prescribes a number of studies:

Method name What allows you to make a diagnosis


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

MRI, CT or ultrasound

These diagnostic methods allow to identify any pathological changes in the periarticular tissues and joints that are not visible on radiography.

ECG, ultrasound of internal organs

Helps to identify extraarticular manifestations (pericarditis, pneumonitis) that are characteristic of certain diseases.


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 tests, 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 removing fluid from the joint capsule)

A puncture is performed if there is a large amount of blood (hemarthrosis), pus (infectious processes) or a large amount of fluid that interferes with motility and threatens to destroy it.

Treatment: principles, drugs, features

Some diseases or conditions that cause pain in the joints of the fingers can not be treated (vasospasm, osteoarthritis, psoriatic, gouty arthritis). Some are treated completely and ineffectively (with timely treatment - osteomyelitis, mild and moderate injuries).

General principles of treatment, methods of pain relief

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

Usually this is:

  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that successfully relieve inflammation and pain;
  • Glucocorticoids prescribed when NSAIDs are ineffective;
  • painkillers when joint pain cannot be relieved by other means.

As the symptoms subside, the patient is prescribed: chondroprotectors and physical therapy to slow or prevent the destruction of cartilage.

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

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

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

Features of the treatment of specific pathologies

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

Pathology Treatment features


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

If necessary, it is punctured, tissue integrity is restored (in case of severe damage) and immobilized with plaster.

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


The use of chondroprotectors and physiotherapy exercises are effective in the early stages of the disease.

Then only surgery helps (the problem is solved with a prosthesis).

Rheumatoid arthritis

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

Psoriatic arthritis

Gout arthritis

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

A mandatory part of treatment is a strict diet during an attack (Table № 6), a less stringent diet throughout life.


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

Antibiotics and antibacterial drugs are used for treatment.


How to treat vasospasm? In pathology, vasodilators and antispasmodics (relaxing the muscles of the vascular wall), blood thinners are prescribed.

Eliminate irritants (such as smoking) or treat the underlying disease in which vasospasm occurs (eg, 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 of eucalyptus leaves. Take 40 g of eucalyptus leaves, pour a liter of boiling water, allow to stand under the lid for 60 minutes. When ready, strain, strain into a dark glass jar and store in refrigerator. Take daily for 2 weeks - 50 ml 3 times 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 material in 0. 5 liters of boiling water, infuse for 20 minutes under the lid. Drink a glass 2-3 times a 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 them in 100 ml of alcohol in turn, add foamed egg whites. Rub on brushes overnight. The treatment of the joints of the fingers lasts 21 days, after which the course can be repeated.
  4. Rub with oil. Dilute the essential oil with vegetable oil (1: 1) and rub it on the joints of the fingers until it is completely absorbed before going to bed. First, you need to "warm" them: boil the washed potato peel in water, when the broth cools (to pleasantly warm), immerse the brushes and leave for 15-25 minutes, then rinse with clean water. They continue this treatment for 3 weeks or until the symptoms disappear.


How to prevent pathologies that cause pain in the joints of the fingers? To do this, you need:

  • get rid of bad habits (quit smoking and alcohol);
  • Include in the diet foods that are good for joints and cartilage tissue (sufficient amounts of calcium, phosphorus, other minerals and vitamins, protein);
  • get regular checkups, get rid of chronic infections (for example, tonsillitis);
  • do not overload (alternately load with rest) and do not over-cool your hands.

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