Inflammation of the joints of the fingers: causes, symptoms and treatment

The most common pathology of the hands is the inflammation of the joints of the fingers, or arthritis. It should be emphasized that arthritis of the hands is not a separate disease, but only its manifestation, that is, the defeat of small joints can cause several separate nosological forms, the treatment of which is radically different. Therefore, the establishment of an accurate diagnosis is an important measure, both on the part of treatment and further prevention. In no case should it be limited to a syndromic diagnosis.

Symptoms of

If, for some reason, the joint is inflamed, the person has the following complaints and symptoms:

  1. Pain .There is no pathology that is accompanied by inflammation and does not show painful sensations in the affected area. Pain, as a rule, is constant, amplified by touching the inflamed area and during movements. In some cases, there is a feeling of stiffness or bursting in the joint.
  2. Edema .Arthritis-damaged joint swells and increases in volume( sometimes and several times).His skin is stretched, shiny. Because of the swelling, the amplitude of movements in the fingers is reduced. They can acquire a sausage-like shape, or a form of sausage, rosaries.
  3. Redness of the skin above the aching joint .As a rule, the skin over the zone of inflammation blush, sometimes acquire a bluish tinge.
  4. Increase of the local temperature .By touch, the area of ​​the affected joint becomes hot compared to healthy areas of the body( a sign of active inflammation).
  5. Deformation of fingers .In the case of acute arthritis, the deformation is temporary and caused by edema of the damaged joint. If the arthritis is chronic, the deformities acquire a permanent character and are caused by the defeat of the ligamentous apparatus of the joints of the fingers and bone, cartilaginous tissue. In some diseases, for example, rheumatoid arthritis, such deformations of the hand are considered a pathognomonic sign or "visiting card" of the pathology. Often they lead to loss of the brush function.
  6. Loss of the normal function. The reason for the loss of the function of the hand can be pain, swelling, which are temporary and reversible, as well as persistent deformities of the joints of the fingers, which in most cases are irreversible.
Arthritis of the finger
Redness, swelling, pain - the main signs of inflammation

It is important to remember that all of the above signs are not specific and can occur in almost all types of inflammation of the joints of the fingers. In an accurate diagnosis, an important role is played by the characteristics of a particular symptom, some other signs, as well as additional methods of examination.

According to the clinical course, the inflammation of the joints of the fingers can be acute and chronic, as well as chronic with periods of remission. One or more joints can become inflamed. Lesions can be symmetrical( more characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis) or asymmetric.

Below are the causes of inflammation of small joints that occur most often( 90% of cases).


This disease accounts for approximately 40% of cases of inflammation and pain in the joints of the hands. Suffer from this pathology is mainly older people, with women 2 times more likely than men.

Polyostoarthrosis of the hands is a special clinical form of deforming osteoarthritis( degenerative-dystrophic musculoskeletal disease).

The main complaint of patients is pain, which is monotonous, intensified after the movements, at the end of the working day and at night. The disease is chronic. Also characteristic is the deformation of the hands - "nodal fingers".

Nail Fingers
Nodular fingers in case of polyostoarthrosis

Specific nodules( Bushard and Geberden) appear on the back and side surfaces of the distal and proximal interphalangeal joints, which tend to be symmetrical. Some patients complain of burning and pain in the nodules, in others they are asymptomatic.


This is an arthrosis of the first finger, while the metacarpophalangeal joint suffers. As a rule, it is part of polyostoarthrosis, but approximately 30% of cases occur as an independent disease. Particularly often suffer from this form of inflammation are people who, due to duty, overload the thumb of the upper limb.

Rheumatoid arthritis

This is a systemic autoimmune disease of the body with a predominant lesion of the small joints of the body, including the fingers of the upper limbs.

Rheumatoid arthritis
Joint inflammation and deformity of the wrist with rheumatoid arthritis

Characteristic symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis:

  • are more common in women;
  • most often suffer from metacarpophalangeal and proximal interphalangeal connections of the middle and index fingers;
  • arthritis has the nature of polyarthritis( several joints are affected), and the process is symmetrical on both hands;
  • inflammation is accompanied by muscle weakness of the brushes, a feeling of stiffness in the hands;
  • pain intensifies at night and in the morning;
  • is a chronic process with periods of remission.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious illness that, if treated for a long time without adequate treatment, leads not only to the defeat of the musculoskeletal system and disability, but also to damage to the internal organs, which can prove deadly.

Infectious arthritis

Infectious arthritis is a direct( penetrating wound in the joint) or mediated( the introduction of pathological microorganisms into the joint by blood) infecting the joint cavity with infectious agents. This inflammation often occurs in the form of acute monoarthritis( only one joint becomes inflamed).Accompanied by all signs of inflammation, and clearly pronounced, there are no specific symptoms.

To treat infectious arthritis is necessary taking into account the pathogen that caused inflammation( antibacterial therapy).As a rule, this pathology can be treated well and does not leave any consequences after itself.

Gouty arthritis

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This metabolic disease, like gout, causes inflammation of the fingers in 5% of cases. At the heart of the disease is a violation of purine metabolism in the body, which is accompanied by the accumulation of uric acid, which is debugged in the form of salts in organs and peripheral tissues, for example, the shell of joints. The latter also causes their inflammation.

Although gout is characterized by the defeat of the first toe, but there are also variants of gouty arthritis involving the hands.

Men are more often ill. Arthritis is not symmetrical. Any fingers can be affected, but more often large ones. A characteristic sign of such inflammation is paroxysmal. Inflammation begins with a sharp pain( which sometimes wakes people up at night), redness and swelling of the aching finger.

The basis for the treatment of gouty arthritis is a diet, with a reduced amount of purine substances( diet No. 6 according to Pevzner), medications that reduce the amount of uric acid in the body, anti-inflammatory drugs and folk remedies.

Gouty Arthritis
Gouty arthritis with subcutaneous deposits of uric acid salts( tofusami)

Psoriatic arthritis

Inflammation of the finger joints on the upper limbs as a complication of psoriasis( skin disease) occurs in approximately 3-4% of the arthritis of this localization. Most often they get sick at the age of 30-50.

A characteristic feature, but not mandatory, is the presence on the skin of the body or scalp of the psoriatic elements of the rash( red pruritus plaques covered with scales).

Psoriatic arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis and characteristic skin eruptions in psoriasis

Psoriatic arthritis has a very characteristic clinical picture - all the joints of one finger are affected simultaneously, which results in the fact that it almost completely inflames and becomes like a sausage( "sausage-like finger").Arthritis is asymmetrical.

In conclusion, it must be said that the treatment of each individual form of arthritis of the fingers is radically different. For example, when gout is prescribed specific hypouricemic therapy, with rheumatoid arthritis - immunosuppressive medications. Therefore, in each case, a diagnosis must be verified, for which it is obligatory to seek medical help. Otherwise, you risk not only your own hands, but also your health in general.

The doctor examines the patient
  • Symptoms of
  • Polyostoarthrosis
  • Risartrose
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Infectious arthritis
  • Gouty arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis