Why the joints of the fingers hurt - the connection with diseases and treatment

Articular pain in fingers when bending

Joint pain in the hand not only interferes with normal life, reduces physical activity, causes impaired performance, but also worsens the emotional state due to constant 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 a possible treatment.

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

Causes of pain

Pain in the hand can be caused by various diseases, many of which have quite similar symptoms.Most diseases are chronic, and the initial conditions for their development are often overlooked.Let's find out why the joints hurt in the fingers of one or both hands.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a continuous progressive connective tissue disease affecting the joints (mainly peripheral). Destruction of cartilage occurs due to chronic inflammation of the synovial membrane. Periarticular tissues are affected. Pathology develops as a result of immune autoaggression.The clinical picture is characterized by:

  • destruction of cartilage tissue;
  • osteoporosis;
  • pain, articular deformations (primarily hands), subluxations, contractures;
  • deterioration of blood vessels, damage to lymph nodes;
  • changes in the skin, nails, increased pigmentation;
  • formation of specific rheumatoid nodules;
  • heart disorders (rheumatoid carditis);
  • dystrophic changes in muscles;
  • various pathologies of kidneys (mostly 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.Arthritis is about 3 times more common in women.

The earliest and most important symptom is morning stiffness in the whole body, especially in the joints of the hands, which disappears after physical activity. At the initial stage, there may be a temporary deterioration of the general condition, when the joints of the fingers and toes periodically ache, appetite decreases, heart rate increases, sweating and low temperature appear.

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

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


Osteochondrosis of the spine leads to lumbago in the back and neck, neurovascular diseases, the formation of herniated discs, impaired blood flow in the spinal arteries, compression of nerve roots and other neurological symptoms. 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

Pain in the fingers can arise from osteochondropathy - necrosis of bone tissue as a result of increased mechanical stress, mainly in childhood and adolescence. In adults, the disease is diagnosed less often.The development of pathology is provoked by injuries, functional load, 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 mainly characteristic of men aged 18-30 years who have chronic microtraumatization or excessive stress of the hand (locksmiths, turners, carpenters, carpenters). Symptomatic complex includes:

  • constant pain involving fingers, wrist area;
  • persistent swelling;
  • increased pain when pressing on the wrist joint;
  • destruction of bones, subluxation of intercarpal joints in the last 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 inflammation of the joints after it can explain why the fingers on the hands hurt, especially when bending. Reactive arthritis is probably the result of an immune response to microbial antigens located outside the joint, leading to the development of immunocomplex synovitis in the synovial membrane.

The symptomatology of the disease is expressed:

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

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 the age of 40, but gout can develop in young people aged 20-30, and in menopausal women.

Disturbance of purine metabolism can cause:

  • increased synthesis due to a genetically inherited trait;
  • kidney failure;
  • some blood diseases;
  • take medicine;
  • significant consumption of foods high in purines and fat (meat, fish), alcohol;
  • infections;
  • combination of various factors affecting 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 an attack-like course with the involvement of an increasing number of joints and tendons in the process, the gradual appearance of persistent visible deformations, stiffness, osteoarthritis and the formation of tophi (gout nodules).

Symptomatic exacerbation of inflammation manifests itself:

  • sharp pains, usually at night;
  • joint swelling, hyperemia;
  • weakness, fever, chills;
  • increased irritability;
  • 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 the knuckles hurt.

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

Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriasis patients often develop chronic inflammation - psoriatic arthritis, its classic form is considered to be damage to the joints of the hands and feet. The disease usually develops imperceptibly, with a gradual increase in symptoms, sometimes an acute onset is possible.You can suspect the development of arthritis with the following symptoms:

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

In the future, the defeat of the joints leads to the deformation of the fingers, contractures, the development of chronic synovitis, arthrosis.

Extraarticular rheumatism

Extraarticular rheumatism in the form of diseases of soft periarticular tissues often causes pain in the fingers. The main factors of development are injuries, long-term stereotyping of movements, hypothermia, humidity, infections and frequent lack of nutrition and blood supply.Pain can be caused by:

  • tendonitis - degenerative lesion of tendons;
  • tendovaginitis (otherwise - tenosynovitis, ligamentitis) - inflammation of the median 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 affected, which is associated with their almost constant functional stress.The most common causes of finger pain on the entire surface or in the joint are the following syndromes:

  • 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 of the palmar ligament of the ulnar nerve and ulnar artery;
  • wrist tendon ligamentitis;
  • Knott's disease, which affects the tendons of the superficial flexors of the fingers and their locks ("finger");
  • bursitis (tendobursitis).

Pain usually occurs or increases during movement, and is bothersome at night.There may be swelling, stiffness, and tenderness.


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

Damage to the joints of the hands causes pain in the finger or the entire palm, first only when bending, with significant physical exertion, and then even at rest, in the morning, sometimes at night.In addition, the disease is accompanied by:

  • stiffness, contractures;
  • articular deformations;
  • sometimes hot swelling.

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

A 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 in their 20s and 30s.

The development of the disease can be both imperceptible and acute, sudden. The gradual onset occurs against the background of weakness, weight loss, subfebrile temperature, signs of arthritis (synovitis), small skin manifestations. Acute - characterized by severe pain in the joints, fever and a bright rash 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 (primarily of hands), deformation of fingers, wrist, ankle joints;
  • lung pathologies (pneumonitis, 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 redness and discomfort due to pain in the joints of the fingers (especially if the causes of the pain are due to the force generated when shaking hands) is the basis for the examination of this disease.


Since pain in the joints of the hands can cause a wide range of disorders, it is necessary to determine the exact cause of stiff, swollen and / or damaged fingers.Diagnosis is made using the following studies:

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

If necessary, a tissue biopsy is performed to accurately diagnose the causes of joint pain in the fingers, and an analysis of the synovial fluid is performed.

Treatment methods

It is impossible to independently determine what to do if there is painful swelling in the fingers or pain in the joints. Treatment is prescribed by a doctor only after diagnosis and examination.


If the finger on the hand (bending, abducting movement, during rest) is very painful, short-term administration of analgesics is allowed before the examination by a specialist.

Joint heating should not be done, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial substances should not be taken without supervision.

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

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

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

Therapy of developed syndromes is carried out against the background of the main pathology. 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 cause of damage to the finger joints is determined, the main treatment is completed with various physiotherapeutic procedures and balneotherapy methods: electrophoresis, mud applications, amplipulse therapy, etc.

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


The main therapy necessarily involves loosening the joint, but it is necessary to restore the range of motion. To correct motor disorders of the fingers in the hands, gymnastics is performed using various compressions, pinches, abductions, stretching, which allows to restore mobility to the joints and sensitivity to the terminal phalanges. Joint pain in the fingers requires careful application of new exercises and a gradual increase in load.

Massage courses

Therapeutic massage improves tissue trophism, helps alleviate 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.

Folk treatment

Phytotherapy prepared according to folk recipes, compresses, rubbing, can be useful if there are no contraindications and treatment with drugs is refused. If the fingers on the hand hurt a lot and for a long time, they help to alleviate the situation.