Why finger joints hurt: connection with diseases and treatment

Joint pain in the fingers when flexing

Joint pains in the hand not only interfere with normal life, reduce physical activity, lead to reduced performance, but also worsen the emotional state due to constant painful discomfort.

That is why, when a person has pain in the joints of the fingers, the first thing that interests him is the causes of this phenomenon and a possible treatment.

Pain in the joints of the hands and fingers - a sign of various diseases

Causes of pain

Hand pain can be caused by a variety of diseases, many of which have quite similar symptoms.Most diseases are chronic, and the prerequisites for their development often go unnoticed.Let's find out why the finger joints of one or both hands hurt.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a constantly progressive connective tissue disease affecting the joints (mainly peripheral). Due to chronic inflammation of the synovial membrane, destruction of cartilage occurs. Periarticular tissues are affected. Pathology develops as a result of immune self-aggression.The clinical picture is characterized by:

  • destruction of cartilage tissue;
  • osteoporosis;
  • pain, joint deformities (hands in primis), subluxations, contractures;
  • worsening of the state of blood vessels, damage to the lymph nodes;
  • changes in the skin, nails, increased pigmentation;
  • the formation of specific rheumatoid nodules;
  • heart disease (rheumatoid carditis);
  • dystrophic changes in the muscles;
  • various pathologies of the kidneys (most often amyloidosis), liver;
  • functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract;
  • neurological disorders, rheumatoid neuropathy.

The disease can be caused by infections, hypothermia, trauma, physical or nervous stress.There is a genetic predisposition to the disease.Women get arthritis about 3 times more often.

The first and most important symptom is a feeling of morning stiffness throughout the body, felt mainly in the joints of the hands, which disappears after physical activity. At the initial stage, there may be a temporary deterioration in the general condition, when the joints of the fingers and toes periodically ache, the appetite decreases, the heartbeat increases, sweating and a low temperature appears.

Subsequently, the pains - mainly in the small joints of the hands and feet - intensify, especially in the morning, after sleep and during movements.The period of morning stiffness lengthens, which becomes painful.The mobility of the joints is increasingly limited. Pronounced inflammatory edema, the appearance of hyperemia, the skin temperature rises above the site of inflammation, fever begins.

Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by alternating periods of exacerbations and remissions, sometimes long, for months and even years. With each exacerbation, the process covers new joints.


Osteochondrosis of the spine leads to low back pain in the back, neck, neurovascular disorders, disc herniation, impaired blood flow in the vertebral arteries, pinched nerve roots, and signs of other neurological symptoms. Most often, the disease is accompanied by a feeling of numbness in the fingers, but the pain can be mistaken for pain in the joints.

Osteochondropathy. Kienbock's disease

Finger pain can be caused by osteochondropathy - necrosis of bone tissue caused by increased mechanical stress, mainly in childhood and adolescence. In adults, the disease is diagnosed less frequently.The development of pathology is provoked by injuries, functional overload, infections, rapid growth in children, features of the constitution, and sometimes vitamin imbalance.

One such disease is Kienböck's disease, which affects the wrist joint. This type of osteochondropathy is predominantly characteristic of men between the ages of 18 and 30 with chronic microtraumatization or overload of the hand (blacksmiths, turners, carpenters, carpenters). The symptom complex includes:

  • persistent pain covering the fingers, the wrist area;
  • persistent swelling;
  • increased pain when pressing on the wrist joint;
  • bone destruction, subluxation of the intercarpal joints in the final stage of the disease.

The process, as a rule, affects only one side.

Reactive arthritis

A recent infectious disease (1-1. 5 months ago) and the development of joint inflammation afterwards may explain why fingers hurt, especially when flexed. Reactive arthritis is presumably the result of an immune response to microbial antigens located outside the joint, which causes the development of immune complex synovitis in the synovial membrane.

The symptomatology of the disease is expressed:

  • pain in the joints, affected tendons;
  • deterioration of skin condition, nail changes;
  • diseases of the genitourinary, cardiovascular, lymphatic system.

The clinic of reactive arthritis is diverse and depends on the causative agent of the infection: streptococcus, salmonella, meningococcus, shigella and many others.


Gout belongs to the group of metabolic arthritis - diseases of the musculoskeletal system caused by metabolic disorders, in this case - uric acid. The disease mainly affects men over 40, but it is possible to develop gout in 20-30-year-olds, in menopausal women.

Violation of purine metabolism can be caused by:

  • increased synthesis due to a genetically inherited feature;
  • kidney failure;
  • some blood diseases;
  • taking medications;
  • significant consumption of foods rich in purines and fats (meat, fish), alcohol;
  • infections;
  • a combination of various factors that affect uric acid metabolism.

The disease is accompanied by the development of hyperuricemia - an excess of uric acid in the blood serum, resulting in the deposition of urates in the tissues of the joints.

Gout is characterized by a seizure-like course with the involvement of an increasing number of joints and tendons in the process, the gradual appearance of persistent visible deformities, stiffness, osteoarthritis, and the formation of tophi (gouty knots).

Symptomatic exacerbation of inflammation is manifested:

  • sharp pains, usually at night;
  • joint swelling, hyperemia;
  • weakness, fever, chills;
  • increased nervousness;
  • stool disorders.

Localization of gouty arthritis in the small joints of the hands is atypical. However, gout may be a possible explanation for why the knuckles of the fingers hurt.

Gout is accompanied by severe pain in the fingers and swelling of the joints.

Psoriatic arthritis

Patients with psoriasis often develop chronic inflammation - psoriatic arthritis, the classic form of which is considered damage to the joints of the hands and feet. The disease usually develops subtly, with a gradual increase in symptoms, although an acute onset is sometimes possible.You can suspect the development of arthritis by the following signs:

  • the joints of the fingers and toes ache in the morning or during the day;
  • there is a painful swelling;
  • the skin over the joint becomes cyanotic;
  • trophic changes occur.

The defeat of the joints in the future becomes the cause of deformation of the fingers, contractures, leads to the development of chronic synovitis, arthrosis.

Extra-articular rheumatism

Extra-articular rheumatism in the form of periarticular soft tissue diseases often lead to pain in the fingers. The main factors of development are injuries, prolonged stereotypy of movements, hypothermia, humidity, infections and often a lack of nutrition and blood supply.Pain can occur due to:

  • tendonitis - a degenerative lesion of the tendons;
  • tendovaginitis (otherwise - tenosynovitis, ligamentitis) - inflammation of the middle part of the tendons, the inner lining of the vagina, extra-articular ligaments;
  • bursitis - an inflammatory process in the serous bursa, usually due to tendovaginitis.

In the hands, the tendons of the wrist and hand are most often affected, which is associated with their almost constant functional stress.Most often, the reasons why the finger on the hand hurts all over the surface or in the joint are syndromes caused by:

  • de Quervain's disease - tendovaginitis of the tendons of the muscles responsible for abduction and extension of the thumb;
  • carpal tunnel syndrome - tendovaginitis of the flexors of the fingers, often combined with Guyon's canal syndrome - compression in the palmar ligament of the ulnar nerve and ulnar artery;
  • wrist tendon ligamentitis;
  • Knott's disease ("snapping" finger), which affects the tendons of the superficial flexors of the fingers and their sheaths;
  • bursitis (tendobursitis).

Pains usually arise or increase at the movement, disturb at night.There may be swelling, stiffness, and sensory disturbances.


Degenerative-dystrophic processes in articular cartilage with the formation of osteophytes - osteoporosis - are the most common variant of joint pathology, the frequency of which increases with age. It occurs for two reasons: increased mechanical impact on the joint and deterioration of cartilage.

Damage to the joints of the hands leads to the fact that the finger or the entire palm hurts, at first only when bending, significant physical exertion, and then also at rest, in the morning, sometimes at night.In addition, the disease is accompanied by:

  • stiffness, contractures;
  • joint deformities;
  • sometimes hot swelling.

Osteoarthritis is characterized by a long-term course with a gradual increase in symptoms, usually without abrupt exacerbations. The main types of diseases affecting the hands are arthrosis of the interphalangeal joints and the metacarpal joint.

The joint is normal (left) and affected by osteoarthritis (right)

Systemic lupus erythematosus

It is an autoimmune polysyndromic disease with a chronic course, generalized vascular damage and connective tissue changes. It mainly affects teenage girls and young women between the ages of 20 and 30.

The development of the disease can be both imperceptible and sharp, sudden. Gradual onset occurs against the background of weakness, weight loss, subfebrile temperature, signs of arthritis (synovitis), minor skin manifestations. Sharp - characterized by severe pain in the joints, fever and bright rashes on the skin.In addition, the disease can be accompanied by:

  • hair loss, nail changes;
  • sensitivity disorders;
  • stomatitis;
  • damage to the cardiovascular system, most often pericarditis;
  • sometimes muscle atrophy (mainly of the hands), deformity of the joints of the fingers, wrist, ankle;
  • pulmonary pathologies (pneumonia, candidiasis, tuberculosis, etc. );
  • kidney damage (lupus glomerulonephritis);
  • vegetative and emotional disorders;
  • decreased intelligence, hallucinations, convulsions.

Arthritis is the most common symptom of systemic lupus erythematosus.

That is why the appearance of skin rash and the discomfort caused by the fact that the joints of the fingers hurt (especially if the causes of pain lie in the force created when shaking hands) is the basis for an examination of this disease.


Since pain in the joints of the hands can be caused by a very wide range of ailments, it is necessary to establish the exact reason why the fingers are stiff, swollen and / or injured.Diagnosis is made using the following studies:

  • radiography;
  • scintigraphy;
  • ultrasound examination;
  • magnetic resonance or computed tomography;
  • immunological tests;
  • laboratory analysis of blood, urine.

If necessary, for an accurate diagnosis of the causes of joint pain in the fingers, a tissue biopsy is performed, an analysis of the synovial fluid.

Methods of treatment

It is impossible to independently determine what to do if painful swelling or finger joints hurt. Treatment is prescribed exclusively by a doctor after diagnosis and examination.

Medical treatment

In the event that the finger of the hand (during flexion, abduction movement, rest) hurts too much, a short-term intake of analgesics is allowed before examination by a specialist.

The joint should not be heated, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agents should not be taken uncontrollably.

You can use an ointment that relieves acute pain in the joints of the fingers.

Further therapy depends on the disease and is usually complex.The treatment is aimed at:

  • to relieve exacerbation with drugs, relieve pain with painkillers, anti-inflammatory ointments, gels;
  • on the normalization of metabolic and immune processes;
  • to restore blood supply, improve joint nutrition, increase functionality.

Therapy of syndromes that have developed against the background of the underlying pathology is performed. Blood purification procedures are used: plasmapheresis, hemosorption. In severe cases, resort to surgical methods of treatment.

Anti-inflammatory ointments are used to relieve pain in the joints of the fingers.


If the exact reason why the joints of the fingers ache is established, the main treatment is supplemented by various physiotherapeutic procedures and balneotherapy methods: electrophoresis, mud applications, amplipuls therapy and others.

Physiotherapy improves metabolic processes, normalizes blood circulation in the fingers.


Basic therapy necessarily includes joint unloading, however range of motion must be restored. To correct motor disorders of the fingers, gymnastics is performed using various compressions, pinches, abduction, stretching, which allows you to return mobility to the joints and sensitivity to the terminal phalanges. Joint pain that occurs in the fingers requires careful introduction of new exercises and a gradual increase in load.

Massage courses

Therapeutic massage improves tissue trophism, helps relieve the symptoms of the disease.However, with pain in the joints of the fingers, there are often contraindications for massage, so treatment should only be carried out with the permission of a doctor.

The joints of the fingers can be massaged to relieve symptoms.

Folk remedies

Herbal medicine, compresses, rubbing, prepared according to folk recipes, can be useful when there are no contraindications and there is no refusal to deal with drugs. They help relieve the condition if the fingers on the hand hurt too much and for a long time.