Most people would (as you rightfully are) concerned about what this actual sensation of pain in your finger means after applying some pressure. You may become aware of this kind of pain right in the middle of a typing session, or perhaps after performing a exercises, or even in the early hours of the morning.
You may find this kind of symptom accompanied by a difficulty to move your fingers, a tingling sensation, a clicking or popping sound when you move your fingers and so on.
The Good news is that not every finger pain is related to arthritis! The bad news is that rheumatoid arthritis is certainly among the health problems we would first need to rule out. But, how can you figure it out by yourself?
What are the Possible causes of this type of finger pain?
Before becoming restless about your finger pain, there’s something you need to make clear: Chances are you are not a rheumatoid arthritis patient. First, you should consider more common causes like soft tissue damage, having suffered trauma to your hand or fingers, and even nerve entrapment syndromes.
These are the most important ailments in your finger pain list:
- A finger sprain or fracture: These may result from a fall, a direct strike to your hand, and even after lifting or grasping to something with an awkward grip. A finger fracture usually gives you very limited mobility, swelling, and even a change of color in the affected finger. Plus, you would probably have a major traumatic event that you could relate to. Thus, it is less likely you will mistake this type of pain with other causes. However, after performing an awkward movement, your finger ligaments may become stretched or torn and start hurting with or without applying pressure. You may experience swelling after a sprain, but it is usually limited to the moment when the traction happened, and it is still possible you continue with your finger pain without the swelling.
- A dislocated joint: This diagnosis is less likely and would require a significant trauma. Moreover, since a dislocated joint changes hand anatomy altogether, it is difficult to miss or mistake with other sources of pain. Similar to fractures, a dislocated joint would cause lots of pain and significant swelling. More importantly, you will see your finger in an awkward position and with a limited range of movement.
- Soft tissue damage: If you suddenly feel mild pain or discomfort in your fingers and you’re an active person practicing sports, chances are you have soft tissue damage that does not necessarily reach the severity of a finger sprain. In your fingers, you have muscles, tendons ligaments, and other structures surrounding these. Reversible damage to these components of your finger joint may be the explanation of your finger pain. In this case, pain will be self-limited and will not last for more than a few hours or a few days at worst.
- Trigger finger: It is an inflammatory condition of the tendon sheath, a tunnel through which finger tendons slide. Another name to this pathology is stenosing tenovaginosis or stenosing The thumb, little finger or ring finger are the ones commonly affected by this problem, and it may take more than one finger in one or both hands. After its sheath becomes inflamed, tendons will not be able to slide, and sometimes a nodule forms that makes it even more difficult, causing a popping or clicking sound when you move your fingers, and sometimes getting your fingers stuck in a bent position. The range of movement may be altered as well, and pain may aggravate when you press on it.
- Nerve entrapment syndromes: You should not rule out automatically nerve entrapment syndromes such as ulnar tunnel syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome. What they have in common is that the ring or canal your hand nerves run through become narrow and start pressing on the nerves. As a result, you will have various symptoms, including pain in various parts of your hands, a tingling sensation, numbness in your hands and loss of function. The most commonly affected fingers are your little finger and your ring finger, and the accompanying symptoms usually make it difficult to mistake this cause with others.
- Arthritis: As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, arthritis is also a diagnosis we should look into. There are different types of arthritis, and they commonly affect small articulations, like the ones located in your fingers. You have probably seen pictures of rheumatoid arthritis patients and how their hands and fingers start to change over the course of the disease. As they lose their normal shape and anatomy, the hands and fingers in arthritis patients become swollen, stiff, and difficult to move.
- Bone metastases: This is another diagnosis your doctor would also include and only look through when you have a known source of cancer, or when more common causes are already ruled out. When cancer spreads to the bone tissue, it may migrate to your hand and fingers. In that case, it would give you a dull and continuous bone pain, susceptibility to fractures, and weakness in your upper limbs.
Is the Pain I feel in my Fingertips caused by Arthritis?
Most people experiencing finger pain feel quite nervous about it and the first thing that comes to mind is whether or not this is a warning sign of arthritis. However, there are a few extra symptoms arthritis patients have, and having pain in your fingers is not by itself a synonym of rheumatoid arthritis.
Patients with arthritis often wake up feeling joint pain (in this case, finger joint pain). This pain does not start while performing activities or movements. Instead, they tend to reduce pain as they move the articulation throughout the day. If your case is similar, it would be a good idea to ask your doctor to look through your individual case.
Bone metastases are frequently seen in patients with malignancies, but only 0.007% to 0.3% of these metastases are located in the hand or foot.
(with Thanks www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
There are various types of arthritis, and some would give you migrating joint pain while others are limited to one articulation. In some cases, patients feel joint pain is spreading to nearby articulations. However, as an inflammatory condition, arthritis is always associated with swelling in the articulations. You would wake up with swollen hands, you would possibly notice a change of color and may even feel your hands burning hot.
Rheumatoid arthritis is not the most likely diagnosis, and you should not worry if you are experiencing mild pain with no warning signs. As a final summary to all of the diagnostic possibilities, we are leaving you with the following table:
Most important symptoms
|Sprain||Damage to ligaments or tendons||Pain, movement limitation|
|Fracture||Damage to the bone tissue||Severe pain and swelling|
|Dislocated joint||Abnormal separation of the joint||Anatomic changes, severe pain and movement limitation|
|Soft tissue damage||Mild damage to ligaments, tendons or muscles||Self-limited joint pain|
|Trigger finger||Inflammation to the ligament sheath||Popping or clicking sound, finger pain|
|Nerve entrapment syndrome||Other structures pressing upon nerves||Tingling, numbness|
|Arthritis||Joint inflammation and deformation||Morning joint pain and stiffness. Swelling|
|Bone metastasis||Spread of cancer cells to the bone||Dull and continuous pain. Susceptibility to fractures|
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