Why finger joints hurt - connection with diseases and treatment

Pain in the joints of the fingers when bending

Joint pain in the hand not only interferes with normal life, reduces physical activity, leads to impaired working capacity, but also worsens the emotional state due to the constantly arising painful discomfort.

Therefore, when a person has pain in the joints of the fingers, the first thing he is interested in is the causes of this phenomenon and possible treatment.

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

Causes of pain

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

Rheumatoid arthritis

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

  • destruction of cartilage tissue;
  • osteoporosis;
  • pain, joint deformities (primarily hands), subluxations, contractures;
  • deterioration of the condition of blood vessels, damage to lymph nodes;
  • changes in the skin, nails, increased pigmentation;
  • the formation of specific rheumatoid nodules;
  • heart disease (rheumatoid carditis);
  • dystrophic changes in 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 tension.There is a genetic predisposition to the disease.Women suffer from arthritis about 3 times more often.

The earliest and most important symptom is the feeling of morning stiffness in the whole body, especially in the joints of the hands, which disappears after physical activity. In the initial stage, there may be a temporary worsening of the general condition, when the joints of the fingers of the hands and periodically the legs hurt, the appetite decreases, the heartbeat accelerates, sweating and a low temperature appears.

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

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


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

Osteochondropathy. Kienböck's disease

Pain in the fingers 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 often.The development of the pathology is provoked by injuries, functional overload, infections, rapid growth in children, peculiarities of the constitution and sometimes vitamin imbalance.

One such disease is Kienböck's disease, which affects the wrist joint. This type of osteochondropathy is mainly characteristic of men aged 18 to 30 years with chronic microtraumatization or overstrain of the hand (locksmiths, turners, carpenters, carpenters). The symptom complex includes:

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

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

Reactive arthritis

A recent infectious disease (1-1. 5 months ago) and the development of joint inflammation after it can explain why the fingers hurt, especially when they are bent. Reactive arthritis probably results from 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 as:

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

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


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

Disturbance of purine metabolism can be caused by:

  • increased synthesis due to a genetically inherited characteristic;
  • kidney failure;
  • certain blood disorders;
  • taking medication;
  • significant consumption of foods with a high content of purines and fats (meat, fish), alcohol;
  • infections;
  • a combination of different factors affecting uric acid metabolism.

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

Gout is characterized by a relapsing course with the involvement of an increasing number of joints and tendons in the process, the gradual appearance of permanent visible deformities, stiffness, osteoarthritis and the formation of tophi (gouty nodules).

Symptomatic exacerbation of inflammation occurs:

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

The localization of gouty arthritis in the small joints of the hands is atypical. However, gout can be a very possible explanation for why your knuckles hurt.

Gout is accompanied by sharp 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 to be damage to the joints of the hands and feet. The disease usually develops imperceptibly, with a gradual increase in symptoms, although sometimes an acute onset is possible.You can suspect the development of arthritis by the following signs:

  • the joints of the fingers and feet hurt in the morning or throughout the day;
  • there is painful swelling;
  • the skin over the joint becomes cyanotic;
  • trophic changes occur.

The damage to the joints in the future causes deformation of the fingers, contractures, leads to the development of chronic synovitis, arthrosis.

Extraneous rheumatism

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

  • tendinitis - degenerative damage to 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 bag, usually due to tendovaginitis.

In the hands, the tendons of the wrist and hand are most often affected, which is related to their almost constant functional load.Most often, the reasons why the finger hurts over the entire 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;
  • tendonitis of the wrist;
  • Knott's disease ("clicking" finger), which affects the tendons of the superficial flexors of the fingers and their sheaths;
  • bursitis (tendobursitis).

Pain usually occurs or increases with movement, disturbing at night.There may be swelling, stiffness, and sensory disturbances.


Degenerative-dystrophic processes in the 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 due to two reasons: increased mechanical impact on the joint and deterioration of the cartilage.

Damage to the joints of the hands leads to the fact that the finger or the entire palm hurts, first only when bending, significant physical exertion, and then even 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 sharp exacerbations. The main types of diseases affecting the hands are osteoarthritis 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 adolescents and young women aged 20-30.

The development of the disease can be both imperceptible and acute, sudden. The gradual onset occurs against the background of weakness, weight loss, low-grade fever, signs of arthritis (synovitis), minor skin manifestations. Sharp - characterized by severe pain in the joints, fever and bright rashes on the skin.Also, 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), deformation of the joints of the fingers, wrist, ankle;
  • pulmonary pathologies (pneumonitis, candidiasis, tuberculosis, etc. );
  • kidney damage (lupus glomerulonephritis);
  • vegetative and emotional disorders;
  • reduced intelligence, hallucinations, convulsions.

Arthritis is the most common symptom of systemic lupus erythematosus.

That is why the appearance of skin erythema and discomfort caused by the fact that the joints of the fingers hurt (especially if the causes of the pain are in the force created when squeezing the hand) is the basis for research for this disease.


Since pain in the joints of the hands can be caused by a very wide range of diseases, it is necessary to find out the exact reason why the fingers are stiff, swollen and/or painful.The diagnosis is made through the following tests:

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

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

Methods of treatment

It is impossible to independently determine what to do if painful swellings 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 warmed, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agents should not be taken uncontrollably.

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

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

  • to relieve exacerbation with drugs, relieve pain with pain relievers, anti-inflammatory ointments, gels;
  • to normalize metabolic and immune processes;
  • to restore blood supply, improve joint nutrition, increase their functionality.

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

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


If the exact reason why the finger joints hurt is established, the main treatment is supplemented by various physiotherapeutic procedures and balneotherapy methods: electrophoresis, mud applications, amplipulse therapy and others.

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


The main therapy necessarily includes unloading the joint, but it is necessary to restore the range of motion. To correct movement disorders of the fingers, gymnastics is performed using various compressions, pinches, abduction, stretching, which allows you to return the mobility of the joints and sensitivity to the end 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 trophicity, helps relieve the symptoms of the disease.However, with pain in the joints of the fingers, there are often contraindications for massage, so the treatment should be carried out only with the permission of a doctor.

Finger joints can be massaged to relieve symptoms.

People's funds

Phytotherapy, compresses, rubs prepared according to folk recipes can be useful when there are no contraindications and there is no refusal of drug treatment. They help relieve the condition if the fingers of the hand hurt too much and for a long time.