Sometimes, you have pain in your finger joint that is most noticeable when you press it. If pressure intensifies the discomfort, the joint pain might be more problematic than originally thought and might require specific treatment.
Before you can decide on the best treatment, it’s important to determine what’s causing the pain.
Common causes of finger joint pain include the following conditions:
- Sprain or strain. Finger sprains or strains are common. A sprain occurs when your finger ligaments become stretched or torn. A strain occurs when your muscle or tendon becomes stretched. These can occur during a sport, a fall, lifting something in an awkward way, and other activities. Symptoms include joint pain and swelling.
- Dislocated joint. A dislocated finger joint occurs when the bones are no longer in the correct position. The bones will need to be put back into place by a medical professional.
- Fractures or breaks. Fractures and breaks affect the finger bone itself. If a fracture or a break occurs close to a finger joint, pain can occur when using or pressing on your fingers. Symptoms include joint pain, numbness, and limited mobility.
- Arthritis. Arthritis often affects the hands and fingers. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common type of arthritis that causes symptoms such as misshapen finger joints, pain, and stiffness.
- Metastases. Bone metastases are tumors that occur when cancer cells spread into bone tissue. These are rare and typically occur in cancer patients. Symptoms include bone pain and weakness in limbs.
With strains or sprains, you can often treat the injury at home. However, if you’re experiencing extreme swelling or pain, you should see your doctor.
If the pain in your finger joint is minor, try these home remedies to relieve the pain and help your finger joint heal:
- Rest your finger joints. Continued activity will aggravate the injury.
- Apply ice to the injury to help with pain and swelling.
- Use pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- Use topical pain relief cream or ointment.
- Use a topical counterirritant cream or ointment with menthol or capsaicin.
- Tape your injured finger to a healthy one to provide support.
If you’re diagnosed with arthritis, your doctor might provide you with a personalized treatment plan. Treatment plans for arthritis in the hands may include:
- medication such as analgesics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), or corticosteroids
- surgery such as joint repair, joint replacement, or joint fusion
- physical therapy
You should contact your doctor for an X-ray if you experience any of the following:
- severe pain when still
- numbness or tingling
- inability to straighten or bend fingers
- visible bone
- pain that does not stop after 1-2 weeks of home treatment
In the case of extreme finger joint pain, diagnosis often includes an X-ray of the area. This will help to determine if your finger is broken.
Pain in your finger joint could be due to a minor sprain or strain in your finger. With 1-2 weeks of home treatment, your finger pain should improve.
If your pain does not improve or is severe, you should see your doctor. If your finger is bent, crooked or otherwise visibly broken, you should get the finger examined by your doctor immediately.