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What Causes Swollen Fingertips?

By Patti Kate
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Some causes of swollen fingertips may be pregnancy and carpal tunnel syndrome. Poor circulation may cause swollen fingertips in some individuals. Inflammation due to injury or arthritis may also cause swelling of the fingertips. Swelling of the fingertips is not considered a disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying condition. For those who suffer from arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, swelling and inflammation of the joints can be common, as can finger joint swelling.

Any type of autoimmune disease may cause swollen fingertips for some individuals. A disease such as lupus may be characterized by pain and swelling, as the immune system mistakenly recognizes an organ or the entire body as foreign, thus attacking the body. Some patients suffering from lupus may experience fingertip swelling as well as swollen hands and feet.

Scleroderma is another autoimmune disease that may result in swollen and tender fingertips. In more advanced cases, extreme immobility of the hands or feet may occur. Pain is another associated symptom of this rare condition that may cause the fingertips to swell.

Fluid retention, also known as edema, may cause swollen fingertips and swollen joints. Fluid retention may be caused by several factors, including a woman's monthly menstrual cycle or pregnancy. Puffy and enlarged fingers may be prominent at the fingertips or knuckles and could be a symptom of fluid buildup within the body. Medications such as diuretics may help control the symptoms.

A condition known as Raynaud's phenomenon may cause swollen fingertips, among other symptoms. This disease is also characterized by skin tautness and pain. Extremities that have a discoloration, such as a bluish tinge, may be another symptom of this condition.

An infection of the finger may cause the fingertip to swell. Drainage, red streaking, and pain are other symptoms. This is typically caused by a bacterial infection. Another type of infection that may cause swollen fingertips is a fungal nail infection.

Insect bites have been known to cause localized swelling, and if a person is stung on the finger, the fingertip may swell. If the individual has an allergic reaction to the bee sting, swelling is more likely. A bee sting will generally cause pain and redness as well.

In some cases, repetitive motion stress may cause swollen fingertips. Repetitive motion injury occurs as a person overuses a joint or extremity for a prolonged period of time. As a result, pain, redness, and swelling may affect the hands or fingertips. Many individuals who use their hands repeatedly for work or sport, such as a typist or tennis player, may develop swollen fingertips.

Traumatic injury, such as a fracture of the finger, is another cause of a swollen fingertip. A dislocated finger may also cause fingertip swelling. Sprains and strains can cause swelling of any joint or part of an extremity, including the fingertips.

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Discussion Comments
By jmiller2 — On Dec 12, 2013

You can treat swollen fingers by exercising your hands, which will help pump the fluid back to your heart. Hold your hands above your head and massaging your hands may also help treat the symptoms.

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