Finger joint pain: causes and treatment of pathology

Pain in the joints of the fingers is a phenomenon that has become common in people over the age of forty, but younger people can also experience this symptom. If the knuckles are sore, everyone should know the cause and how to treat it, as no one is immune to this problem.

Basic knowledge of anatomy

Joints are joints between bones, including joint sacs, synovial sacs, hyaline cartilage, and synovial fluid.

pain in the joints of the fingers photo 1

The human hand is equipped with the most flexible joints that provide all fine motor skills. There are 29 joints in one hand. Three parts are distinguished in the hand:

  1. wrist;
  2. metacarpus;
  3. finger.

The most mobile joints are in the fingers, providing grip and other functions. Each finger, excluding the thumb, has three joints - in total, less than half the number of joints in the hand.

A small area on the joint surface, the connective membrane is relatively thin leading to frequent damage to these joints due to pathology.

Factors that lead to the onset of pain in the joints of the fingers

Doctors identify factors that predispose to diseases of finger joints. Predisposing factors do not necessarily lead to the development of the pathology, and at the same time increase the risk of it occurring.

Risk factors include:

  • changes in the hormonal system;
  • pathological processes in the immune defense system;
  • genetic factors;
  • chronic, acute infectious processes;
  • pathological changes in normal metabolism;
  • the influence of environmental factors;
  • the wound, the wound, the treatment is not given proper attention.

It is not possible to completely eliminate the influence of risk factors.

Possible reasons

If you have pain in the joints of your fingers, you should determine the cause and treat it accurately, in a short time. Problems with the articular surfaces of the hands develop under the influence of many causes, of which the following are most often diagnosed:

  1. arthritis;
  2. dry joints;
  3. osteomyelitis;
  4. mechanical trauma;
  5. bursitis;
  6. Gout;
  7. strong narrowing of peripheral vessels.


Arthritis is an acute and chronic inflammatory lesion of the joints. Other symptoms, the doctor says, include swelling in the affected area, redness of the skin. Isolated finger arthritis is rare, other joints in the body are more often affected.

pain in the knuckles of the hand photo 2

Doctors distinguish the types of arthritis:

  • infectious - bacteria enter the joint capsule in a systemic disease;
  • psoriasis - accompanied by psoriasis, marked by scaly patches on the body;
  • rheumatism - develops under the complex influence of a number of factors: overwork, stress, weakening of immune mechanisms, infectious diseases transfer.


Arthritis is a disease that results in a change in the configuration of the joint surfaces. Finger pain from arthritis develops gradually, so doctors recommend starting treatment at an early stage.

The hallmark of arthropathy is the symmetry of alternating pain and damage in all fingers, starting with the thumb.


Osteomyelitis is a purulent inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues. Osteomyelitis develops when pyogenic microorganisms invade the joint capsule.

The process is acute, starting with a temperature spike to 40 degrees and higher. The symptoms of general intoxication of the body join gradually: weakness, nausea and vomiting, chills.

The pain in the fingers increases gradually over the first few days. The skin at the affected joint turns purple, becomes glossy and taut due to marked edema. Mobility is limited. This disease in its progressive form is characterized by a gradual loss of mobility of the entire arm, and not only the hand.

Mechanical trauma

Among the mechanical injuries, the most commonly seen by doctors is dislocation. Dislocation - displacement of the joint surface, accompanied by pain, change in the shape of the joint, tissue edema.

Athletes dislocated. The thumb is affected most often, as it is located at a distance from the other fingers. Due to the anatomical position, the thumb gets bumped with each movement incorrectly. The ligamentous apparatus is not always capable of adequately compensating the load resulting in injury.


Bursitis is an inflammatory reaction that develops in the joint capsule and is accompanied by an accumulation of fluid in the cavity. Bursitis is easily distinguished from other diseases by the form of edema around the affected joint: the swelling has a rounded appearance and a soft structure to the touch. You may notice the swelling with the naked eye.

Bursitis, which causes pain in the fingers, needs to be treated promptly, as it becomes chronic in a short time. When moving to the chronic type, mineral salts begin to accumulate in the joint capsule, increasing the sensation of pain.

If against the background of bursitis there is an addition of purulent microflora, then doctors speak of a purulent disease.


Gout is diagnosed in the ankle area but is sometimes found in the fingers. The cause of the development of the disease is a failure of the mechanism of using purine nuclei, which leads to their deposition in the joint area.

Gout develops slowly, which is why patients only seek medical attention when the joints have completely lost their mobility and the process cannot be reversed.

Strong constriction of peripheral vessels

The sharp narrowing of the vessels that supply nutrients to the peripheral tissues is called a peripheral vascular crisis. Critical illness is characterized by cold extremities, cyanosis, turning to red skin. The reason leading to the development of a peripheral vasculitis is hypothermia.

In addition to these common causes of joint pain, there are less common causes:

  • Raynaud's syndrome, in which the fingers are paroxysmal, and the skin is pale;
  • polycythemia vera, which is characterized by an excess of red blood cells (there are three types);
  • osteonecrosis, affecting the cervical spine, as a result of which the nerve roots are compressed;
  • de Kevren's disease, characterized by inflammatory processes in the ligaments of the thumb;
  • tunnel syndrome, which develops in young people due to long work with computers;
  • vibration diseases that form while working with mechanisms that generate vibrations, etc. v.

Determining the cause of finger joint pain will aid in treatment.

Treatment of finger joint pain due to known causes

If the knuckles are painful and the cause of the pain is identified, treatment can be initiated.

pain in the joints of the fingers photo 3

Therapy is based on eliminating the underlying disease and only then acting on pain as a symptom of the pathology.

In addition to eliminating the underlying disease and reducing pain, it is recommended to restore the functions of the joints as much as possible.

You can focus on the following recommendations:

  1. With simple pain in the fingers, not accompanied by swelling or redness, it is possible to independently bandage and create the rest of the limb;
  2. in case of injury, apply a cold compress to the affected area, the duration of which is about half an hour; On the second day after an injury, it is better to apply a warm compress to help blood circulation and actively restore the joint.

Medicines for treatment

Drug treatment needs to perform two main functions: to eliminate pain and stop the inflammatory process. Basically, doctors use cyclooxygenase inhibitors, or, as they are also called, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

If the cause of the pain lies in an autoimmune disease, the patient will be prescribed a course of glucocorticosteroids.

An acute infectious disease requires not only the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but also the appointment of antibiotics. Antibiotics should be selected individually in consultation with a doctor. It is important to determine which microflora contributes to the development of symptoms and to select antibacterial agents that will act specifically on this microflora.

To relieve symptoms, doctors prescribe menthol gels and ointments as topicals.

If articular surface dystrophic lesions are diagnosed, you should use drugs of the group of chondroprotectors. Chondroprotectors are substances that can replace cartilage tissue that has undergone a process of destruction.

The effectiveness of chondroprotectors is explained by their composition, which is closest to the natural structure of cartilage tissue. The effect of drugs of this class is enhanced by vitamins and plant extracts acting as auxiliary substances.

If the pain is very pronounced, different classes of pain relievers can be prescribed.

Depending on the severity of symptoms, pain relievers are selected individually.

Physiotherapy and gymnastics

Physiotherapy techniques are widely used in the fight against infectious pathogens, the regeneration of which leads to the appearance of pain in the joint surface. Physical therapy techniques used:

  • the introduction of novocaine under the action of electrophoresis;
  • electric sleep;
  • resonance therapy.

If the infectious disease of the joints is in remission, massage sessions, healing muds, and manual therapy are recommended.

Pain in the fingers is not a reason for the extremities to be under load, give them complete rest. Doctors recommend choosing a number of exercises that help strengthen the muscular and ligamentous apparatus of the hands. Exercise should be started as soon as the acute phase of the disease is over.

Diet therapy

An adjunct to pain in the knuckles, when the cause is known, is dietary therapy. Choosing the right diet, for example for gout, will help reduce the severity of the disease and work to promote joint health.

pain in finger joints photo 4

It is recommended to include in the diet:

  1. seafood and fish, which contribute to the normalization of mineral metabolism;
  2. flaxseed and fish oils, which ensure the normalization of lipid metabolism due to the content of omega-3 fatty acids;
  3. Fruits and vegetables;
  4. nuts;
  5. Natural low-fat ginger and cheese.

If you correctly identify the cause of pain in the joints of the fingers, and start treatment in time, then this unpleasant symptom can be eliminated.

Self-treatment and ignoring symptoms often lead to chronic illness and worsening of the patient's condition.