Why the 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 poor performance, but also worsen the emotional state due to constantly arising 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 joints of the fingers of one or both hands hurt.

Rheumatoid arthritis

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

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

The earliest and most important symptom is a feeling of morning stiffness throughout the body, especially 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, appetite decreases, heartbeat increases, sweats, and a low temperature appears.

Subsequently, the pain -mainly in the small joints of the hands and feet- intensifies, especially in the morning, after sleeping and when making movements.The period of morning stiffness is prolonged, which becomes painful.The mobility of the joints is increasingly limited. Pronounced inflammatory edema, hyperemia appears, 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 prolonged, for months and even years. With each exacerbation, the process covers new joints.


Osteochondrosis of the spine leads to lumbago in the back, neck, neurovascular disorders, the formation of herniated discs, impaired blood flow in the vertebral arteries, pinching of the 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 confused with joint pain.

Osteochondropathy. Kienbock'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 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 aged 18-30 years with chronic microtraumatization or overexertion of the hand (locksmiths, 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 inflammation of the joints after this can explain why the fingers of the hands hurt, especially when they are flexed. Reactive arthritis is presumed to be the result of an immune response to microbial antigens located outside the joint, leading to the development of immune complex synovitis in the synovial membrane.

The symptomatology of the disease is expressed:

  • pain in the affected joints, tendons;
  • deterioration of the condition of the skin, 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: 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 years of age, but it is possible to develop gout in young people between 20 and 30 years of age, in menopausal women.

Violation of purine metabolism can be caused by:

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

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 joint tissues.

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 deformities, stiffness, osteoarthritis, and the formation of tophi (gouty nodules).

Symptomatic exacerbation of inflammation is manifested:

  • 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 may be a very possible explanation for why your finger knuckles hurt.

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

Psoriasic arthritis

Psoriasis patients 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 imperceptibly, 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 feet ache in the morning or throughout the day;
  • there is painful swelling;
  • the skin over the joint becomes cyanotic;
  • trophic changes occur.

The defeat of the joints in the future becomes the cause of the 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 leads to pain in the fingers. The main factors of development are injuries, prolonged stereotyping of movements, hypothermia, dampness, infections, and often lack of nutrition and blood supply.Pain can occur due to:

  • tendinitis - a degenerative injury 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 the most affected, which is associated with their almost constant functional stress.In most cases, the reasons why the finger of the hand hurts on 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;
  • 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 movement, disturb 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 for two reasons: greater 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, at first only when bending, significant physical exertion, and then even at rest, in the morning, sometimes in the evening.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 acute exacerbations. The main types of diseases that affect 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 a polysyndromic autoimmune disease with a chronic course, generalized vascular damage and changes in the connective tissue. It mainly affects adolescent 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. Acute: Characterized by severe joint pain, fever, and bright skin rashes.In addition, the disease may be accompanied by:

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

Arthritis is the most common symptom of systemic lupus erythematosus.

That is why the appearance of erythema on the skin and discomfort caused by pain in the joints of the fingers (especially if the causes of the pain lie in the force created by squeezing the hand) 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 disorders, it is necessary to establish the exact reason why the fingers are stiff, swollen and/or sore.The diagnosis is made through the following studies:

  • bone scan;
  • scintigraphy;
  • ultrasound examination;
  • MRI or CT scan;
  • 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 synovial fluid.

treatment methods

It is impossible to independently determine what to do if the 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 intake of painkillers is allowed before examination by a specialist.

The joint should not be heated, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agents should not be taken without control.

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

Additional therapy depends on the disease and is often complex.Treatment is aimed at:

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

Therapy of syndromes that have developed against the background of the underlying pathology is carried out. 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 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.


Basic therapy necessarily includes unloading the joint, however, it is necessary to restore the range of motion. To correct motor disorders of the fingers of the hands, gymnastics is performed by various compressions, pinching, 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 the careful introduction of new exercises and a gradual increase in load.

massage courses

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

Finger joints can be massaged to relieve symptoms.

Home remedies

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