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What are the Causes of Finger Joint Pain?

Laura M. Sands
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Finger joint pain that intensifies when the finger is moved may be due to a recent injury, such as a sprain or a condition known as mallet finger. Painful finger joints may also be a symptom of inflammation due to lupus or arthritis in the fingers. In the absence of injury, an individual who is feeling pain symptoms in other parts of the body may actually be experiencing the first symptoms of arthritis or lupus along with finger joint pain.

One of the primary symptoms of a sprained finger is joint pain. However, other symptoms are likely to be present at the same time, such as tenderness throughout the finger and swelling. A finger sprain is characterized by torn ligaments that cause finger joint pain, especially when the finger is moved. Individuals are likely to immediately feel the tear occur or, if engaged in a high adrenaline activity, a person may not feel the sprain until later, but will likely be able to trace it back to a specific cause or event.

A similar condition, which also causes finger joint pain, is known as mallet finger or basketball finger. This condition is caused by a ligament that has been torn or stretched and, in some instances, the finger may have even suffered a hairline fracture. Besides finger joint pain, however, a person with mallet finger will not be able to fully extend the injured finger, and it will also appear to be red and swollen.

If finger joint pain is due to arthritis, a person may or may not be able to trace the pain to a specific event. Also, pain may occur in a joint that suffered injury a long time ago and otherwise appears to have healed prior to the onset of pain. If arthritis is the cause, it is likely that joints will appear swollen and may even feel slightly feverish. If bone or cartilage appears to be enlarged, this may also be an indication that finger joint pain is due to arthritis. When wrist pain or similar pain is felt in other joints throughout the body, rheumatoid arthritis or some other form of this disease is more likely to be the cause.

Another autoimmune disease, lupus, may also cause an individual to suffer finger joint pain. However, other symptoms such as a facial rash, fever and light sensitivity are likely to also affect an individual with this disease. Symptoms may also come and go, or appear to be very bad at times and lessen during other times.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Laura M. Sands
By Laura M. Sands , Former Writer
Laura Sands, the founder of a publishing company, brings her passion for writing and her expertise in digital publishing to her work. With a background in social sciences and extensive online work experience, she crafts compelling copy and content across various platforms. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a skilled contributor to any content creation team.

Discussion Comments

By fify — On Aug 14, 2013

My doctor has finally found the cause of my throbbing muscle and joint pains. It's fibromyalgia. I've been having these issues for the past nine months. I have joint pain all over my body, and it started in my fingers.

By bear78 — On Aug 13, 2013
@burcinc-- Yes, it can. Carpal tunnel usually causes stiffness and pain in the forearm, but it can also cause these issues in the hand. More than likely, that's what's causing your finger joint pain.

If it doesn't go away with carpal tunnel hand exercises though, you might want to see a doctor because finger joint pain is also caused by arthritis which is not uncommon in people with carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel is not arthritis, it has to do with the nerves in the hand. So chronic joint pain might be indicative of something else.

By burcinc — On Aug 13, 2013
Can carpal tunnel syndrome cause stiff finger joints and pain?

I have carpal tunnel syndrome. It causes pain and tingling in my wrist. Since the past few days, I've also been experiencing stiff fingers and joint pain. Are these also due to carpal tunnel?

Laura M. Sands

Laura M. Sands

Former Writer

Laura Sands, the founder of a publishing company, brings her passion for writing and her expertise in digital publishing...
Learn more
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