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

The knuckles most often start to hurt after 40-45 years (in 1 in 10 people this is due to age-related changes in the body). After 60 years, the pain often appears against the background of polio osteoarthritis (lesions, destruction of the articular cartilage of various joints).

Deformity and destruction of the wrists is diagnosed in 10% of the elderly.

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

  • rheumatoid arthritis (in 80% of cases it starts with inflammation of the finger joints);
  • 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 (includes 6. 5% of all diseases of the musculoskeletal system).

Most arthritis, in which the joints of the fingers are initially involved in the process, are systemic diseases (i. e. , they affect different systems of the body, not just the joints).They are diagnosed just as often in people of all ages, including young people; in men, they occur 3-5 times less frequently.

Another cause of pain is mechanical injury, the consequences of blows or bruising 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 can not be completely cured, over time they become the cause of disability (rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic, poliosteoarthritis). And, for example, from timely osteomyelitis, 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, polyosteoarthritis), you should consult a rheumatologist or arthrologist. Osteomyelitis is treated by an orthopedic traumatologist, surgeon, injuries - an orthopedic traumatologist.

Why finger joint pain occurs: causes and symptoms

Why do finger joints hurt? There are many reasons as well as factors that can speed up or delay 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, tailors, programmers).
  2. Loads (injuries and microtraumas that come from hours of sports training, rehearsals).
  3. Hormonal changes, disorders (pregnancy, lack of estrogen in older women).
  4. Heredity (close relatives are more susceptible to systemic diseases).
  5. Deficiencies 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 medication, poisoning with toxic substances in a dangerous enterprise, smoking, alcoholism, etc. ).

The pathologies and conditions that cause pain in the toe joints 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 stroke, bruising, compression, and other injury;
  • 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 you try to bend or point your fingers.

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

  • rupture of muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, hemorrhage in the capsule (hemarthrosis) and soft tissue (hematoma);
  • bone fractures and cracks;
  • nerve damage (loss of sensitivity in fingers and skin).

Prognosis: minor injuries heal without leaving a trace in 90-95% of cases. Severe and moderate injuries can leave behind a variety of complications - from impaired finger sensitivity to traumatic arthritis at 70%.


Polyosteoarthritis is a chronic pathology, as a result of which the knuckles are gradually deformed and destroyed (there is a form of the disease that affects the knuckles - rhizarthrosis).

Hands affected by poliosteoarthritis deformance

At first, the 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 crackles (during movements) are accompanied by painful sensations;
  • stiffness appears (initially insignificant).

During periods of irritation, the main symptoms include edema, swelling, an increase in local temperature, and sometimes redness in the joint area.

Over time, the fingers deform:

  1. In the joints located closer to the nails, Heberden joints are formed (bone growth, pea-sized seals).
  2. Bouchard nodes (proliferation of articular surfaces, bone spines) form in the middle nodes.

The knuckles lose their original shape (become nodular), and over time lose their mobility due to ossification of the soft tissues (ankylosis).

Prognosis: the pathology is incurable, but in the early stages (until the deformity appears) it can be suspended for a long time. Later, it becomes the cause of disability (tissues grow together, ossify, finger mobility can only be restored with surgery).

Rheumatoid arthritis

Chronic inflammatory disease of the joints, which manifests itself with the involvement of other organs and systems in the pathological process (outer cortex of the heart, lungs, vascular walls, skin).

Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by:

  • a gradual increase and increase in symptoms (at first, the deterioration is replaced by fairly long periods of asymptomatic course, but they become shorter over time);
  • stiffness in the morning, reminiscent of tight gloves (disappears in 30-60 minutes);
  • sharp, sharp, dull pain in the joints of the fingers (in both hands), which, when bent, grows into unbearable;
  • redness, swelling, swelling, stiffness of the joints.

The pain syndrome usually appears at night or in the morning and diminishes slightly by the afternoon.

When acute symptoms subside (during remission), the pain becomes less pronounced, aching, increases in movement, when working in cold water. The joints in the fingers ache during bending and stretching, remain painful to the touch and slightly swollen.

Gradually, the disease leads to the formation of a deformity and permanent dysfunction of the fingers - they turn outwards or upwards, bend (most often they affect the middle, index and unnamed, very rarely - the little and big toe), joints ofothers are involved in the process (wrists, ankles, knees, shoulders). . .

Prognosis: the pathology is incurable, progresses rapidly and leads to disability, 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 finger joints:

  • sudden, immediate onset of arthritis;
  • defeat of the interphalangeal and distal joints (closer to the nail);
  • persistent, uniform pain, combined with extensive swelling, redness of the skin, limited mobility (the shape of the fingers at this moment resembles a radish or sausage, it is impossible to bend or undo the knuckles due to pain andswelling);
  • increase in overall temperature.

In the long run, it leads to the destruction of nail plates (they crumble, lose their shape), deformity of the fingers (they "turn" from the outside or up) and disability.

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

Gout arthritis

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

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

Typical signs of gout:

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

Progressive gout arthritis becomes the cause for the involvement of new joints in the process, their deformation (destruction of articular surfaces). Tofu, 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 knuckles (secondary osteoarthritis).

Why else can they damage the knuckles?

Other causes of pain include the following diseases and conditions:


This infectious lesion of the bones (periosteum, sponge and compact substance) usually starts acutely - the joint pain in osteomyelitis is strong, sharp, crackling, erupting or tearing. When bent or stretched it increases to unbearable, accompanied by severe swelling, redness and thickening of tissues above the joints, fever and signs of general intoxication (weakness, sweating). In 30% of cases, osteomyelitis becomes chronic (may recur), and the pain in the fingers becomes painful. The process can cause purulent arthritis, malignancy of bone tissue, deformity of bones and joints.


Vasospasm is a sharp narrowing of the peripheral vessels that supply blood to the upper limbs, hands, and knuckles. Characterized by tingling sensation, numbness, pale skin. At the end of the attack (which can be short-lived - from 2 minutes, or long - up to 60 minutes), the fingers begin to ache, "pain" and the skin of the hands becomes red. Over time, a similar phenomenon (vasospasm) becomes the cause of the appearance of trophic ulcers (tissue necrosis due to malnutrition), bone fusion and necrosis of the fingertips.


Pregnancy is not a pathological condition, but is associated with sharp and rapid hormonal changes in the body, accelerated metabolism. Pain in the joints of the fingers, or rather pain, 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.

Diagnosis: methods, research

When the knuckles hurt, 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:

Name of method 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 place any pathological changes in the periarticular tissues and joints, which are not visible on radiography.

ECG, ultrasound of internal organs

Helps identify extra-articular manifestations characteristic of certain diseases (pericarditis, pneumonia)


The study of blood vessels is informative about the 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 extraction of 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 threatens 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 arthritis, gout). Some heal completely and without consequences (with timely treatment - osteomyelitis, mild 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 is the appointment of drugs that help relieve severe symptoms.

Usually this:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which successfully relieve inflammation and pain;
  • glucocorticoids, which are prescribed if NSAIDs are ineffective;
  • pain reliever if joint pain cannot be relieved by other means.

Once the symptoms disappear, the patient is prescribed: chondroprotectors to slow or prevent cartilage destruction and physical therapy.

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

  • drug electrophoresis;
  • magnetotherapy;
  • UHF (ultra high frequency therapy);
  • reflexology (acupuncture);
  • massage;
  • clay therapy;
  • balneotherapy (hydrotherapy);
  • heating procedures (paraffin, ozokerite applications);
  • therapeutic gymnastics (exercises for strengthening the finger joints).

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 gets the opportunity to change the climate 1 or 2 times a year, take a course of physiotherapeutic restorative procedures, drink mineral water from natural sources.

Characteristics of treatment of specific pathologies

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

Pathology Characteristics of treatment


Trauma treatment is a step-by-step process. First, the victim is given first aid (bandage fixation, ice pack for 24 hours).

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

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


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

Later, only surgery helps (the problem is solved with 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 agents that regulate the formation and accelerate the secretion of uric acid, drugs that disperse tissue deposits of salts.

A mandatory part of 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 performed.

For treatment, antibiotics, antibacterial drugs are used.


How to treat vasospasm? In pathology, vasodilating and antispasmodic drugs (relaxants of the muscles of the walls of blood vessels), blood thinners are prescribed.

Eliminate provocative factors (for example, smoking) or treat the underlying disease against which vasospasm developed (for example, rheumatoid arthritis).

Folk remedies (treatment of pathologies, pain relief)

Pain in the knuckles can also be treated with folk remedies according to popular recipes:

  1. Infusion in eucalyptus leaves. Take 40 g of eucalyptus leaves, pour a liter of boiling water, leave for 60 minutes under the lid. When ready, drain, drain in a dark glass container, store in the refrigerator. Take daily for 2 weeks - 3 times 50 ml, 30 minutes before eating.
  2. Treatment of pain in the joints of the fingers with an infusion of black grape leaves. Pour 10 g of raw material with 0, 5 liters of boiling water, let bake under the lid for 20 minutes. Drink a glass 2 to 3 times a day. The duration of the course is 2-3 months.
  3. Heating ointment for arthritis. Take 50 gr of camphor powder and mustard, dilute in turn in 100 ml of alcohol, add egg white, beaten into foam. Rub into brushes overnight. The treatment of the finger joints continues for 21 days, after a while the course can be repeated.
  4. Rubbing with oil. Dilute the essential oil of the fir with vegetable oil (1: 1), rub it on the fingertips until it is completely absorbed before going to bed. First, they need to "warm up": boil the washed potato peel in water, when the liquid has cooled (to warm up nicely), dip the brushes in it and hold for 15-25 minutes, then rinse with water. clean. 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 finger joints? For this you need:

  • giving up bad habits (give up smoking and alcohol);
  • include in the diet foods that are beneficial to cartilage joints and tissues (with a sufficient content of calcium, phosphorus, minerals and other vitamins, proteins);
  • undergo regular examinations, getting rid of foci of chronic infection (for example, tonsils);
  • do not overload (alternate load with rest) and do not cool hands.

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