What Is Finger Pain?
pain is a throbbing, cramp-like, or achy pain that’s felt in any of your fingers,
including your thumb. Finger pain often results from an accident or a medical
most cases, finger pain isn’t
serious and will go away on its own. However, unexplained finger pain can be a
sign of a more serious medical condition. Be sure to visit your doctor if you
experience ongoing or unexplained pain in your fingers.
What Causes Finger Pain?
most common cause of finger pain is a hand injury. Injuries to the finger can
cause an open cut, a bruised or fractured bone, or muscle and tissue damage.
injuries that result in finger pain are:
- broken fingers, often caused by jamming the
finger during contact sports or while improperly handling heavy-duty equipment
- broken fingernails
Medical conditions that affect the nerves, muscles, or bones
can also cause finger pain. For example, osteoarthritis causes the breakdown of
cartilage, which is a tissue that cushions bones at joints. This breakdown
causes bones to rub together and triggers pain and stiffness. In the hands,
osteoarthritis can affect the joints at the base of the thumb, in the middle of
the finger, and near the nail bed. Other conditions that can cause finger pain
- rheumatoid arthritis
- muscular dystrophy
- multiple sclerosis
- carpal tunnel syndrome
A compressed or pinched nerve in the arm, wrist, or hand can
also contribute to finger or thumb pain.
How to Identify Types of Finger Pain
pain may feel dull and achy, or it may be sharp and cramp-like. The pain may
start suddenly and then go away.
you have a broken finger, it will usually be swollen, purple or blue in color,
and extremely painful. In some cases, the bone might be physically separated
and visible through the skin.
A finger dislocation occurs when the bones of your finger or thumb dislocate
from their joints. In some cases, the dislocation is visible. You may also
experience throbbing pain or a sharp shooting pain.
tunnel syndrome and other medical conditions that affect the nerves and muscles
in your arm and hand can cause:
- throbbing pain in the hand and fingers
- pain when moving the affected fingers or when
moving your wrist
- difficulty typing or writing
- hand tremors
A cut on your finger may cause pain at the site of the injury.
Depending on how deep the cut is, you may also feel pain that spreads or
radiates to surrounding areas of your hand.
If you have a growth on your hand, such as a boil or nodule,
you may experience the following signs with your finger pain:
- a fluid-filled lump
- a hardened area of skin
- a movable lump under the surface of the skin
- a lump that is tender to the touch
How Do Doctors Diagnose Finger Pain?
you have a cut or growth on your finger, your doctor may be able to diagnose
the condition based on a physical examination alone. More information will be
needed if you have pain when using your fingers that has no apparent cause.
doctor will ask questions about your medical history, medications you take, and
your occupation. From this information, your doctor can decide which tests are
necessary for a proper diagnosis.
tests for diagnosing finger pain include blood tests and imaging tests, such as
X-rays. An X-ray can show any fractures and abnormal growths within the finger.
If an X-ray isn’t
enough to determine a diagnosis, the doctor may order additional imaging tests
or a nerve study. A nerve study looks for nerve damage or nerve dysfunction.
How to Treat Finger Pain
pain caused by cuts, scrapes, or burns will often heal without treatment. You
simply need to give the area time to heal. You can take over-the-counter pain
medications to help ease your discomfort.
burns, deep cuts, or bruising caused by fractures may not go away without
treatment. Extensive burns may be treated in a hospital using a burn graph and
pain medication. You may require stitches if your cuts are deep. The pain may
last for weeks after treatment as the area heals.
doctor may prescribe pain medications for unexplained finger pain or pain
caused by nerve, tissue, or muscle damage. Other treatment options, such as
surgery, hand exercises, or special gear-like splints, may be necessary to
completely relieve the pain.
What’s the Long-Term Outlook?
pain can be disruptive to your life. It can be difficult to work with finger
pain if your job involves typing or using your hands. Finger pain can also make
it harder to enjoy some leisure activities or complete simple tasks around the
house, but you don’t have to live in pain. Make an
appointment with your doctor if your pain doesn’t
improve or worsens.