Finger Injuries and Disorders

You use your fingers and thumbs to do everything from grasping objects to playing musical instruments to typing.

You use your fingers and thumbs to do everything from grasping objects to playing musical instruments to typing. When there is something wrong with them, it can make life difficult. Common problems include

  • Injuries that result in fractures, ruptured ligaments and dislocations
  • Osteoarthritis - wear-and-tear arthritis. It can also cause deformity.
  • Tendinitis - irritation of the tendons
  • Dupuytren's contracture - a hereditary thickening of the tough tissue that lies just below the skin of your palm. It causes the fingers to stiffen and bend.
  • Trigger finger - an irritation of the sheath that surrounds the flexor tendons. It can cause the tendon to catch and release like a trigger.

Nearly everyone has had finger pain at some time. You may have:

  • Tenderness
  • Burning
  • Stiffness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Coldness
  • Swelling
  • Change in skin color
  • Redness

Many conditions, such as arthritis, can cause finger pain. Numbness or tingling in the fingers may be a sign of a problem with nerves or blood flow. Redness and swelling can be a sign of infection or inflammation.

Injuries are a common cause of finger pain. Your finger may become injured from:

  • Playing contact sports such as football, baseball, or soccer
  • Doing recreational activities such as skiing or tennis
  • Using machinery at home or work
  • Doing tasks at home, such as cooking, gardening, cleaning, or repairs
  • Falling
  • Getting into a fist fight or punching something
  • Doing repetitive movements like typing

Injuries that can cause finger pain include:

  • Smashed fingers, such as from a hammer blow or a car door that crushes the finger
  • Compartment syndrome, which is severe swelling and pressure in an area of muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. A crushing injury can cause this serious condition, which requires immediate medical attention.
  • Mallet finger, when you can't straighten your finger. Sports injuries are a common cause.
  • Finger strains, sprains, and bruises
  • Broken finger bones
  • Skier's thumb, an injury to the ligaments in your thumb, such as from a fall during skiing
  • Cuts and puncture wounds
  • Dislocation

Certain conditions can also cause finger pain:

  • Arthritis, the breakdown of cartilage in the joint that causes inflammation with pain, stiffness, and swelling
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome, pressure on the nerve in the wrist, or other nerve problems causing numbness and pain in the hand and fingers
  • Raynaud's phenomenon, a condition that results in blocked blood flow to the fingers when it is cold
  • Trigger finger, when a swollen finger tendon makes it hard to straighten or bend your finger
  • Dupuytrens contracture, which causes tissue in the palm of the hand to become tighter. This makes it hard to straighten the fingers.
  • De Quervain tenosynovitis, which is pain in the tendons along the thumb side of the wrist from overuse.
  • Infections
  • Tumors