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

The joints of the fingers most often start to hurt after 40 to 45 years of age (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 polyarthrosis (lesions, destruction of the articular cartilage of different joints).

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

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

  • rheumatoid arthritis (in 80% of cases it begins with inflammation of the joints of the fingers);
  • psoriatic arthritis (in 70% the 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 arthritis, in which the joints of the fingers are first involved in the process, are systemic diseases (that is, they affect different systems in the body, not just the joints).They are also often diagnosed in people of all ages, including young people; in men, they occur 3-5 times less often.

Another cause of pain is mechanical injuries, the consequences of blows or bruises to the hands (not uncommon in athletes, the prevalence reaches 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, polyarthrosis). 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 a limb (in 30% of cases).

If you suspect a systemic disease (arthritis, polyarthrosis), you should consult a rheumatologist or arthrologist. Osteomyelitis is treated by an orthopedic traumatologist, a 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. The predisposing factors common to all illnesses and injuries can be taken into account:

  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, repetitions).
  3. Hormonal changes, disorders (pregnancy, lack of estrogen in older women).
  4. Heredity (close relatives are more susceptible to systemic diseases).
  5. Impairments 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 with toxic substances in a dangerous business, smoking, alcoholism, etc. ).

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


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

  • all symptoms occur immediately after a blow, bruise, squeeze and other injuries;
  • swelling, bruising at the impact site, reduced mobility of the joints join the sharp pain;
  • with moderate and severe damage, the symptoms do not go away for a long time, but become more pronounced - 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 associated with:

  • ruptures of muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, hemorrhage of the capsule (hemarthrosis) and soft tissues (hematomas);
  • bone fractures and cracks;
  • 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 leave behind various complications - from impaired sensitivity of the fingers to traumatic arthritis in 70%.


Polyarthrosis 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 with polyarthrosis deformans

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

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

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

Over time, the fingers become deformed:

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

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

Prognosis: the pathology is incurable, but in the early stages (until the appearance of the deformity) it can be suspended for a long time. Later, it becomes the cause of disability (the tissues clump together, ossify, the 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 (outer envelope 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 over time they become shorter);
  • morning stiffness, reminiscent of tight gloves (disappears in 30-60 minutes);
  • sharp, sharp, annoying pain in the joints of the fingers (both hands), which, when bent, becomes unbearable;
  • redness, swelling, swelling, joint stiffness.

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

When the acute symptoms disappear (during remission), the pain becomes less pronounced, painful, increases in movement, when working in cold water. The joints of 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 are more oftenaffected, very rarely - the little finger and the big one), other joints are involved in the process (wrists, ankles, knees, shoulders). . .

Prognosis: the pathology is incurable, evolves rapidly and leads to handicap, handicap - 40% of cases during the first 5 years of development.

Psoriatic arthritis

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

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

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

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

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

Gouty arthritis

Gouty arthritis occurs against the background of metabolic disorders, due to which excess uric acid accumulates in the body. It falls into the tissues of the joints, causing inflammation.

Deposit of uric acid crystals in the soft tissues of 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 or touch your finger makes the unpleasant symptom worse.
  3. It is accompanied by severe edema, which often extends to the whole hand, a change in the color of the skin (the finger on the hand turns blue-purple), an increase in general temperature(the patient has 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 gouty arthritis becomes the reason for the involvement of new joints in the process, their deformation (destruction of 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 it can destroy the joints of the fingers (secondary osteoarthritis).

Why else can the joints of the fingers hurt?

Other causes of pain include the following diseases and conditions:


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


Vasospasm is a marked narrowing of the peripheral vessels that supply blood to the upper limbs, hands and joints of the fingers. 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 hurt, "hurt", 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), bone melting 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 stiffness, can cause 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.

Diagnosis: methods, research

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

Method nameWhat makes it possible to diagnose


With its help, pathological changes in bones, joint deformities, crystal deposits, 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 x-rays.

ECG, ultrasound of internal organs

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


The study of blood vessels is instructive 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 carried out if blood (hemarthrosis), pus (infectious process) or a large amount of fluid has accumulated in it, which hinders mobility and the threat of destruction

Treatment: principles, drugs, characteristics

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, pain relief methods

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

Usually this:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory 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 down or prevent the destruction of cartilage, and physiotherapy.

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

  • electrophoresis with drugs;
  • 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. Under the guidance of the attending physician, the patient has the opportunity to change the climate 1 or 2 times a year, take a course of restorative physiotherapy, drink mineral water from a natural source.

Features of the treatment of specific pathologies

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

PathologyProcessing characteristics


Treatment of trauma is done in stages. First of all, the victim receives first aid (fixing bandage, ice compress for 24 hours).

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

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


At the onset 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 drugs, drugs that affect the activity of the immune system.

Psoriatic arthritis

Gouty arthritis

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

A mandatory part of treatment is a strict diet during a crisis (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, vasodilator drugs and antispasmodics (relaxing the muscles of the vascular walls), anticoagulants are prescribed.

Eliminate provoking factors (eg, smoking) or treat the underlying disease, against which vasospasm has developed (eg, 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, leave to stand for 60 minutes under the lid. When you are ready, filter, drain into a dark glass container, store 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 an infusion of black currant leaves. Pour 10 g of raw materials with 0, 5 liters of boiling water, infuse under the lid for 20 minutes. 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 powdered mustard each, dilute them in turn in 100 ml of alcohol, add the egg white, turned into a foam. Scrub in brushes overnight. Treating the joints of the fingers continues for 21 days, after a while the course can be repeated.
  4. Rub with oil. Dilute essential oil of fir with vegetable oil (1: 1), rub into the joints of the fingers until completely absorbed before going to bed. First of all, they need to "warm up": boil the washed potato peel in water, when the broth cools down (to warm up pleasantly), immerse the brushes in it and hold them for 15-25minutes, then rinse them with clean water. They continue to be treated this way for 3 weeks or until 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 (stop smoking and alcohol);
  • introduce into the diet food useful for joints and cartilage tissue (with a 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 charging with rest) and do not overcool your hands.

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