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Finger Joint Pain

Bhakti Satalkar Nov 1, 2018
There are many causes of finger joint pain. Along with lifestyle, age also has an important role to play in deciding what can be the cause of the problem. Let's dwell into the causes of the problem and how to treat finger joint pain.
Finger joint pain can affect one or more fingers. We all have suffered from injuries to our fingers. After the finger recovery, it may not always come back to its original shape. There are chances, that the finger will remain a bit crooked or stiff. However, more often than not, the person is able to carry out his/her daily chores with the minor deformity.
Apart from injury, there are other causes behind this condition. In some cases, the condition can be debilitating, while in others, it can make movements difficult. As much as the pain in the finger joint may be caused due to problem with the joint, it can also arise in the tendons, nerves, and skin located in the finger.

Causes and Symptoms

The most common cause is arthritis. There is a misconception that arthritis affects people above a certain age only. These days there are a number of people who do suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Early RA tends to affect your smaller joints first. As the disease progresses, it affects the knees, ankles, hips, elbows, and shoulders.
People who are on the other side of the scale may suffer from osteoarthritis, which could also give rise to this problem. The most common symptoms seen in arthritis are swelling, deformity, finger joint pain, and stiffness.
After arthritis, gout is known to cause joint pain. It is an inflammatory joint disease. It causes acute joint swelling and pain. It is actually a form of arthritis, which develops when uric acid crystals are formed in and around the joints. This condition can affect the joints, however, it more often affects the finger joints, toe joints, and ankle joints.
Trauma is also among the main causes of joint pain in the fingers. Often it is seen that hyperextension of the finger can cause the condition. Many times injury caused to the neck or to the spinal cord can also cause pain in the finger joint. If the trauma is not serious, then the pain does disappear as quickly as it appeared.
Finger joint pain and stiffness can also be caused due to Raynaud's Syndrome. The other characteristics of this problem is numbness and tingling sensation in the fingers and also a prickling sensation. Often these sensations are caused in response to cold weather and/or stress.
This problem is clearly visible to the naked eye, where the skin changes colors from flesh toned to white. The skin initially turns white and begins to cool, then there is a change and the skin turns blue and begins to become numb.
The person will then feel some bizarre sensations and may find it difficult to use the fingers. This condition is very common in women who reside in cold climates.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is among the causes of pain in the finger joints. This condition arises, when the median nerve, which passes through the carpal tunnel is pinched. It is seen, that certain activities may aggravate the condition, but the main cause is pinching of the nerve.
Along with the pain in the finger joint, there are some other symptoms of this condition as well. The other symptoms include numbness and weakness in the fingers.
Acute and repetitive injury is another cause. Doing repetitive activities with the fingers can also lead to this condition. The most common repetitive activities a person does these days are text messaging, playing video games, typing, or intricate work using fingers such as sewing, knitting, embroidery, etc.
A condition called trigger finger is also among the causes of pain in the finger joint. Overuse of the fingers is said to trigger the said condition. The repetitive activities are often known to stress the tendons located in the hand.
The tendons do not stretch causing the tendon walls to swell and get stuck. This, in turn, causes the finger to remain in a flexed position and cause finger pain.
Some of the other causes include environmental factors, such as viral or bacterial infection, hormones, genetic factors, etc. Blood circulation can also give rise to this problem. If along with the pain, you also experience swollen finger joints, then it is best to leave it to the healthcare professional to assess the condition.

Pain Relief

When you experience pain and swelling, the first and foremost step is to remove all rings from the fingers. In case the swelling increases, it becomes very difficult to remove the rings. The next step is to rest the aggravated finger joint. Do not do any activities which can aggravate the condition.
Resting the joint will give it sufficient amount of time to heal from the injury. Use ice on the affected area and then keep the finger on an elevation to reduce the swelling. If you have the habit of sleeping on the hands, you may want to change this habit, as sleeping on the hand decreases blood supply to the hand, causing pain.
If the pain is unbearable you can make use of pain killers to treat the condition temporarily. There are also anti-inflammatory ointments which can be applied on the affected joint. You can stretch the joint gently twice a day, so as to normalize blood supply to the affected joint.
If the pain is caused as a result of an injury, then it is best to rest the joint for sometime and then do some stretching exercises. Make sure that they are mild stretching exercises, repeat it twice or thrice a day. When you are doing the stretching exercises, make sure you stretch them only till they cause slight discomfort and not pain.
When the pain is caused due to arthritis, it is best to consult a healthcare professional to know the line of treatment to be implemented, so that the condition is alleviated. Often different gripping actions are recommended, so that the flexibility in the joint is increased and synovial fluid moves to the affected joint.
Along with all of these measures, a special mention will have to be made of the diet. Depending on the cause of the condition you will have to make changes to your diet. Talking to the health care professional will prove to be useful, as he will be able to give you the right dos and don'ts for the condition.
Making small changes to the diet helps in alleviating the condition a great deal. Many a time also eating certain foods prove to be beneficial in treating the condition, especially if the condition is caused due to arthritis or gout.
If it continues for more than two weeks, it is better to have it examined from your healthcare professional. In case the pain increases, or there is numbness or tingling sensation, even when the fingers are resting, you may not want to waste any time. A physiotherapist can also be consulted.
The finger exercises prescribed by the physiotherapist may be of immense help, as they will help to increase blood circulation to the joints and ease the movements in these joints.