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

The joints of the fingers most often begin to hurt after 40–45 years (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 polyosteoarthrosis (lesions, destruction of articular cartilage of different joints).

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

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

  • rheumatoid arthritis (in 80% of cases it begins with inflammation of the joints of the fingers);
  • psoriatic arthritis (in 70% 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 (accounts for 6. 5% of all diseases of the musculoskeletal system).

Most of the arthritis, in which the joints of the fingers are first involved in the process, are systemic diseases (that is, they affect different systems of the body, not just the joints).They are equally often 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 of 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 joints of the fingers cannot be completely cured, over time they become the cause of disability (rheumatoid, psoriatic arthritis, polyosteoarthritis). And, for example, from osteomyelitis with timely treatment, you can get rid of 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, injuries - an orthopedic traumatologist.

Why does finger joint pain occur: causes and symptoms

Why do the joints of the fingers hurt? There are many reasons, as well as factors that can speed up or push the process. 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 (injuries and microtraumas resulting from hours of sports training, rehearsals).
  3. Hormonal changes, disorders (pregnancy, lack of estrogen in aged 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 medications, poisoning with toxic substances at a hazardous enterprise, smoking, alcoholism, etc. ).

The pathologies and conditions that cause pain in the joints of the fingers 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 site of impact, impaired mobility of the joints join the sharp pain;
  • with moderate and severe damage, the symptoms do not subside for a long time, but become more pronounced - pain, stiffness, swelling;
  • discomfort increases when trying to bend or straighten fingers.

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

  • ruptures of muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, hemorrhage into the capsule (hemarthrosis) and soft tissues (hematomas);
  • fractures and cracks of 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 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 polyosteoarthritis deformans

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

  • pain in the joints of the fingers becomes constant, does not go away at rest;
  • clicks and crunching (during movements) join painful sensations;
  • stiffness appears (initially insignificant).

During periods of exacerbation, edema, swelling, an increase in local temperature, and sometimes redness in the area of the joints join the main symptoms.

Over time, the fingers become deformed:

  1. On the joints located closer to the nails, Heberden's nodules (bony growths, pea-sized seals) are formed.
  2. Bouchard's nodules (proliferation of articular surfaces, bone spines) form on the middle joints.

The joints of the fingers lose their original shape (become nodular), and over time they lose their mobility due to ossification of 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 (the tissues grow together, ossify, the mobility of the fingers can be restored only by surgical intervention).

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:

  • a gradual increase and increase in symptoms (at first, 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, boring pain in the joints of the fingers (on both hands), which, when bent, increases to unbearable;
  • redness, swelling, swelling, joint stiffness.

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

When acute symptoms subside (during remission), the pain becomes less pronounced, aching, increases in motion, when working in cold water. The joints on the fingers 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 nameless ones are more often affected, very rarely - the little finger and large), other joints are involved in the process (wrists, ankles, knees, shoulders). . .

Prognosis: the pathology is incurable, progresses rapidly and leads to disability, to disability - 40% of cases during 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, abrupt onset of arthritis;
  • defeat of the interphalangeal and distal (closer to the nail) joints;
  • constant, even, severe pain in combination with extensive swelling, redness of the skin, restriction of mobility (the shape of the fingers at this moment resembles a radish or sausage, it is impossible to bend or unbend the joints of the fingers because of pain and swelling);
  • increase in overall temperature.

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

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

Gouty arthritis

Gouty arthritis occurs against the background of metabolic disorders, due to which an excess of uric acid accumulates in the body. It falls out into the tissue of the joints, causing them to become inflamed.

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

Typical signs of gouty arthritis:

  1. Sharp, sudden, throbbing or burning pain in one or more joints of the fingers.
  2. Any attempt to move your finger or touch it aggravates the unpleasant symptom.
  3. It is accompanied by severe edema, which often spreads to the entire hand, a change in the color of the skin (the finger on the hand becomes bluish-purple), an increase in the general temperature (the patient has a fever, chills).
  4. Finger joint pain usually occurs at night.
  5. The attack can last from 2 days to 2 weeks.

Progressive gouty arthritis becomes the reason for the involvement of new joints in the process, their deformation (destruction of the articular surfaces). Tofuses, 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 it can destroy the joints of the fingers (secondary arthrosis).

Why else can finger joints hurt?

Other causes of pain include the following diseases and conditions:


This infectious lesion of the bones (periosteum, spongy and compact substance) usually begins acutely - joint pain in osteomyelitis is strong, sharp, twitching, bursting or tearing. When flexing or extending, 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 aching. The process can cause purulent arthritis, malignancy of bone tissue, deformation of bones and joints.


Vasospasm is a sharp narrowing of peripheral vessels that supply blood to the upper limbs, hands and finger joints. It is characterized by tingling sensations, numbness, pallor of the 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, "ache", and the skin on the hands turns red. Over time, a similar phenomenon (vasospasm) becomes the cause of the appearance of trophic ulcers (tissue necrosis due to malnutrition), melting of bones and necrosis of the fingertips.


Pregnancy is not a pathological condition, however, it is accompanied by a sharp and rapid hormonal changes in the body, accelerated metabolism. Pain in the joints on the fingers, or rather aches, can provoke 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

When the joint on 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 attending physician prescribes a number of studies:

Method name What allows you to diagnose


With its help, pathological changes in bones, joint deformation, crystal deposition, tissue ossification are detected

MRI, CT or ultrasound

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

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 for extracting fluid from the joint capsule)

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

Treatment: principles, drugs, features

Some of the diseases or conditions that cause pain in the joints of the fingers of the hands cannot be cured (vasospasm, osteoarthritis, psoriatic, gouty arthritis). Some are cured completely and without consequences (with timely treatment - osteomyelitis, minor and moderate injuries).

General principles of treatment, methods of pain relief

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 get rid of severe symptoms.

Usually this:

  • anti-inflammatory nonsteroidal 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 subside, the patient is prescribed: chondroprotectors to slow or prevent the destruction of cartilage, and physical therapy.

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

  • electrophoresis with medicines;
  • magnetotherapy;
  • UHF (ultra high frequency therapy);
  • reflexology (acupuncture);
  • massage;
  • mud therapy;
  • balneotherapy (hydrotherapy);
  • heating procedures (paraffin, ozokerite applications);
  • therapeutic 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 result. In the direction of the attending physician, the patient gets the opportunity to change the climate 1 or 2 times a year, take a course of restorative physiotherapeutic procedures, and drink mineral water from natural sources.

Features of the treatment of specific pathologies

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

Pathology Treatment features


Treatment of trauma is stage-by-stage. First, the victim is given first aid (fixing bandage, ice compress for 24 hours).

If necessary, a puncture is done, the integrity of the tissues is restored (in case of serious damage), and immobilized with plaster.

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


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

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

Rheumatoid arthritis

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

Psoriatic arthritis

Gouty arthritis

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

An obligatory 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, opening of abscesses is carried out.

For treatment, antibiotics, antibacterial drugs are used.


How to treat vasospasm? In pathology, vasodilating drugs and antispasmodics (relaxing the muscles of the vascular walls), blood thinners 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 stand 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 throughout 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 them in turn in 100 ml of alcohol, add egg white, whipped into foam. Rub into brushes overnight. To treat the joints of the fingers continues for 21 days, after a while the course can be repeated.
  4. Oil rubbing. Dilute the essential oil of fir with vegetable oil (1: 1), rub into the joints of the fingers until completely absorbed before going to bed. First, they need to "warm up": boil the washed potato peel in water, when the broth cools down (to pleasantly warm), immerse the brushes in it and hold for 15-25 minutes, then rinse them 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 joints of the fingers? For this you need:

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

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