Finger Joint Pain: Understanding the Causes, Signs, and Treatments

Conservative estimates are now saying approximately 54 million adults and 300,000 babies and children suffer from arthritis or a rheumatic condition worldwide. 

When you feel a lingering ache your hands or begin experiencing, daily finger joint pain, do not begin the self-diagnosis of arthritis. Other causes and solutions exist for finger joint pain. 

Causes of Finger Joint Pain

Finger joint pain can stem from something as simple as a basic hand injury. If you’ve received a small and yet traumatic injury to your hand, you may experience finger joint pain for a few days.

However, if your joint pain begins gradually with no real warning and then stays for days and then weeks, be aware of the potential of arthritis.

There are three types of arthritis. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA usually begins with finger and hand pain. It starts in your hands and toes and then slowly affects the rest of our body. It affects both sides of the body.

Your pain and stiffness will increase, and gradually the discomfort and compromised mobility will affect all of your joints from your jaw to your toes.

RA is not caused by overuse, and you cannot avoid it by just not using your joints. For an unknown reason, those who suffer from RA have an immune system that’s gone awry. It begins to attack itself.

The immune system begins by targeting the lining of the joints. the lining swells up with inflammation, creating pain with movement. Thinking there’s a problem, the immune system begins to work even harder to attack the inflammation, resulting in more inflammation and swelling. 

Rheumatoid arthritis results from a variety of factors including genetics, lifestyle choices, and the environment. For example, cigarette smoking revs up the immune system and amplifies this condition. 


We usually think of old age coinciding with osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis stems from wear-and-tear on the joints. Cartilage is worn away with everyday use, and the bare bones begin to rub on one another without the cushioning cartilage they had before.

Intense pain results from this loss of cartilage. Typically, you see osteoarthritis at the knuckles of the mid-finger and fingertip and the joint of the base of the thumb. 


Gout results from the body’s inability to metabolize uric acid. When the body cannot metabolize this acid found in many foods, crystals develop within the joints of the body and cause pain. 

You usually experience gout in your big toe, but instances of finger joint pain resulting from gout exist as well. 

Long-Term Effects of Finger Joint Pain

If you’re experiencing finger joint pain, seek help. Not treating the pain or simply treating it with an over-the-counter pain med could result in further damage and deformation. The deformity and pain would then limit your ability to use the joint. 

For young people, this excessive finger joint pain could mean the loss of occupation. For everyone, it means the loss of occupational skills such as tying your shoes or signing your name or writing notes. 

How to Treat Finger Joint Pain

If you’re suffering from finger joint pain, you have hope. IN fact, you have several options both medicinal and natural. 

For natural solutions, you can take supplements or have soft tissue manipulation as described in this article by Phi Naturals

Doctors may begin by recommending anti-inflammatory medication. These meds will help treat the pain and decrease the inflammation and swelling around the joints. 

You can also take joint supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin. These two supplements make up the major building blocks of normal cartilage and are thus safe.  

Regular exercise and stretching have also proven to benefit individuals with finger joint pain. Inactivity seems to actually worsen the pain, allowing it to stiffen for lack of use. So even though the movement may hurt at first, with the right supplements, you can lubricate your joints and move with less pain as you exercise.  

Cortisone injections work quickly to alleviate finger joint pain. This shot, given directly in the joint, works quickly and lasts a few months. Doctors can also prescribe oral steroids or prednisone for short term usage that helps with finger joint pain.  

DMARDs, or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, help individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. This set of drugs has been proven to slow the progression of RA and to save joints and other tissue from permanent damage. 

Drugs like hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall) fall into the DMARDS category. 

TNF-Alpha Inhibitors inhibit the protein called tumor necrosis factor-alpha. This protein, made by white blood cells, activates the immune system. RA patients use this drug as well to combat an over-worked immune system that creates inflammation in their joints.

TNF-Alpha inhibitors work well in combination with DMARDs for rheumatoid arthritis patients. These drugs include infliximab (Remicade) and etanercept (Enbrel). 

If you suffer from excruciating finger joint pain, you have surgical options. Hand surgeons can remove bone spurs, fuse joints, and replace joints. 

Joint Fusion

A joint fusion surgery does what it says: the surgery holds the joint in a fixed position to prevent further motion at the joint. You cannot move the joint after this surgery, ever. However, you also have no more pain caused by the inflamed joint.

When the doctor straightens your deformity, he can also remove bone spurs that create the deformed finger and cause finger joint pain. 

Finger Joint Replacement

Much like knee or hip replacement, finger joint replacement involves the use of synthetic materials in your organic body. Doctors may recommend this invasive procedure for more sedentary or elderly individuals, or people not prone to strenuous activity or heavy labor anymore.

The doctor uses an implant made of metal, plastic, ceramic, or a combination of materials. The joint can still wear out and must be protected, however.  

Flick the Finger Joint Pain Away

Finger joint point hurts. You use your fingers for just about everything, so you can see why finger joint pain can hamper even regular activity. 

But you do not have to live with it. If you’re suffering from finger joint pain, visit your doctor. Investigate your options. 

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