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    Finger pain

    Pain - finger

    Finger pain is pain in one or more fingers.


    Nearly everyone has injured a finger at some time. After an injury, the finger can stay a bit crooked or stiff. However, your hand can still work well. Fingers do not need to open or close completely to work.

    Numbness or tingling in the fingers may be a sign of a problem with nerves or blood flow.


    • Blood flow problems
    • Injury
    • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
    • Nerve problems
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Raynaud's phenomenon
    • Rheumatoid arthritis

    Home Care

    Avoid activities that cause or worsen pain.

    After injury, rest the finger joints so that they can heal. Use mild stretching exercises to keep them limber and moving. Stretch the joints gently, not forcefully, twice a day. Stretch just to the point of discomfort, but not enough to cause pain.

    Use common sense and do activities that are less stressful to the joints. For example, you can grip a big handle with less strain than a small handle.

    Avoid strong pain medicines that tend to mask the pain. You may do too much activity and make the injury worse.

    Anti-inflammatory medication can help. Take any prescribed medication for inflammation only as directed.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if:

    • The finger pain is caused by injury
    • The problem continues after 2 weeks of home treatment
    • There is numbing or tingling in the fingers
    • There is severe pain at rest
    • It is impossible to straighten the fingers

    What to Expect at Your Office Visit

    The health care provider will perform a physical examination, which will include looking at your hand and finger movement.

    You will be asked questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:

    • Location
      • What part of the finger is affected?
      • Is it on both hands?
      • Is it in every finger?
      • Which finger is affected?
      • Is it only in one joint? Which joint?
    • Time pattern
      • When did the finger pain start?
      • How long has it lasted?
      • Do you have pain all the time or does it come and go?
    • Quality
      • Is the pain burning?
      • Is the pain crushing?
      • Is the pain sharp?
    • Medical history
      • Have you been injured recently?
      • What other symptoms do you have?

    An x-ray of the hand may be recommended.

    Treatment depends on the cause of the problem.


    Lyn E, Mailhot T. Hand. In: Marx J, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. St Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 47.

    Swigart CR. Hand and wrist pain. In: Firestein GS, Budd RC, Harris ED Jr., et al, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 44.


          A Closer Look

            Talking to your MD

              Self Care

              Tests for Finger pain

                Review Date: 8/15/2011

                Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

                The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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                St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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