Welcome to Buoy Health

Learn about your finger pain, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your finger pain from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Finger Pain Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having finger pain.

Take a quiz
Your Finger Pain May Also be Known as:
Aches and pains in finger
Aches and pains in index finger
Aches and pains in middle finger
Aches and pains in pinky
Aches and pains in ring finger
Finger ache
Finger discomfort
Finger hurts
Finger is painful
Finger joint pain

Finger Pain Symptoms

Open a jar, close a door, wrap a present – these are just a few things we need our fingers to do. So, what do you do when finger pain suddenly makes even the smallest of tasks painful and difficult? If you can't think of the reason you're experiencing finger pain, frustration and concern can start to overtake your emotions.

If a finger is suddenly aching, here are a few other finger pain symptoms you may be experiencing.

  • Pain when moving or putting pressure on the affected finger
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Warmth
  • Weakness
  • Numbness or tingling

Fingers are able to perform incredible and intricate work. The movement of our fingers is the result of a perfectly coordinated dance between our tendons, muscles, and bones.

Fingers have three bones each. These bones are covered in muscle, which are connected by tendons. When we want to move a finger, the brain sends an electric impulse to the specific muscle that either relaxes it or contracts it. Upon this change, tendons are activated. The ending result is a moved finger.

When a sudden bout of finger pain does strike, it can be impossible to ignore. But the pain is rarely a sign of anything serious and can be remedied.

Finger Pain Causes Overview

When you're plagued with finger pain symptoms, the cause can sometimes be a mystery.

Trauma:

  • Bruises and strains : Slamming your finger in the car door or having it bent backwards playing basketball are just two examples of finger injury.
  • Fracture: Though incredibly strong, the bones in our fingers are easier to break and fracture than others. Stress fractures aren't always easy to spot in fingers either. Swelling, difficulty moving the affected hand and finger, and trouble holding onto objects are signs of potential fractures.

Infections:

  • Bacterial: Paronychia is the most common bacterial infection found on the hand. It's typically localized to the skin around the fingernail though. A cut anywhere on the finger can become infected, leading to severe finger pain if left untreated.
  • Viral: One type of viral infection that affects fingers is herpetic whitlow. It's the most common viral infection of the hand and causes pain in the fingertip area.

Medical:

  • Joint issues: Arthritis can lead to finger pain. While some of the first joints to be affected are usually the knees, hips, or spine, those diagnosed also express weakness in their hands along with finger pain.
  • Nerve damage: Carpel tunnel syndrome is a prime example of how nerve damage can cause tingling and discomfort in the fingers.
  • Blood vessel trauma: Thoracic outlet syndrome occurs when compression causes a lack of blood flow to the extremities. Finger tingling and numbness are a symptom.

Not all of these causes can be self-diagnosed.

If you need help from a medical professional to determine the cause of your finger pain symptoms, the following may be performed.

  • Medical questionnaire to document specific symptoms and timeline
  • Physical examination to notate swelling, redness, and limited movement
  • Lab tests if an infection is suspected
  • Imaging tests if a broken bone or similar trauma is suspected

Top 2 Finger Pain Causes

  1. 1.Boxer's Fracture

    Boxer's fracture is a term for a fracture of one of fingers and generally occurs after a closed fist makes contact with a hard object.

    Apply ice to relieve pain and swelling. If there is an open wound, gently clean with soap and water. Proceed to your nearest urgent care clinic.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    finger pain, swollen finger, finger bruise
    Symptoms that always occur with boxer's fracture:
    finger pain, swollen finger
    Urgency:
    In-person visit

    Finger Pain Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having finger pain.

    Take a quiz
  2. 2.Psoriatic Arthritis

    Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes itchy or sore patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales. Some people who have psoriasis also get a form of arthritis (inflammation and swelling of joints) called psoriatic arthritis.

    You should visit your primary care physician to manage this disease as there are many treatment options. A treatment plan will often consist of therapy (physical, occupational, massage), patient education, exercise and rest, devices to protect joints, medicine and/or surgery.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    joint pain, lower back pain, shoulder pain, upper back pain, joint stiffness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Finger Pain Treatments and Relief

Not all cases of finger pain require a trip to the doctor.

If you're experiencing the following, seek out medical attention sooner than later.

  • Bleeding from an injury that won't stop
  • Visible trauma to the finger, such as a protruding bone
  • Signs of infection, including redness, warmth, and pus
  • Inability to move finger at all
  • Severe pain that shows little to no improvement over the course of several days

If you don't feel a trip to the doctor is necessary to treat your finger pain symptoms, there are several home care routes you can take.

  • R.I.C.E.: If there is no serious cause behind your finger pain, use the R.I.C.E. method. Rest the finger as much as possible and Ice it several times a day. Compress it when possible and Elevate it during periods of rest.
  • Buddy tape: Tape your injured finger to a healthy finger next to it. The tape should be stiff and not allow your fingers to move. This allows you to use part of your body as a natural splint and prevent your injured finger from moving while it heals. This is ideal for small fractures and sprains.
  • Pain relievers: To combat swelling and discomfort, over the counter pain relievers can be used as directed.
  • Epsom salt: For general pain, soaking your finger in a bowl with Epsom salt can soothe muscles and relax stiff joints.

Finger pain can take an otherwise good day and turn it into a mess. When you can't complete simple tasks without grimacing in pain, finding relief sooner than later is a must. Find the cause of your discomfort and follow up with either professional help or home treatments.

FAQs About Finger Pain

Here are some frequently asked questions about finger pain.

Why are my fingertips hurting?

Painful fingertips can be a minor problem or a dangerous sign of a serious disease. To discover why your fingertips are hurting, the first step is to review any activities that could lead to tenderness or pain along the fingertips. This includes musical instruments and texting. Other common causes of fingertip pain include disorders like Raynaud's Syndrome in which some of the fingers to not get adequate blood flow and worsen on exposure to cold.

Why are my fingers stinging?

Finger tips commonly sting when they are exposed to caustic agents like bleach or severe cold for long periods of time. It may also be a symptom of disorders that predispose one to pain in the cold like Raynaud's Syndrome or disease of clogged arteries like peripheral artery disease (PAD). If you have continual finger stinging, you should seek medical evaluation.

How do I know if my finger is broken?

A broken finger can best be identified by an X-ray or by a detailed clinical exam. Pain with movement can indicate either a sprain or a fracture, point tenderness or tenderness that is severe in only one spot can indicate a fracture. Treatment usually involves taping or bandaging the finger to the adjacent finger.

Can arthritis cause finger pain?

Yes, arthritis can cause finger pain. There are many types of arthritis, but the most common types (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis) both cause finger pain. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) commonly causes morning stiffness that tends to abate over an hour to half an hour. Osteoarthritis, however, commonly becomes worse during the day.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Finger Pain

  • Q.How severe is your finger pain?
  • Q.How long has your finger(s) been hurting?
  • Q.Did you injure your finger?
  • Q.Did you get a manicure and/or pedicure in the past few days?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our finger pain symptom checker.

Take a quiz

Finger Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced finger pain have also experienced:

    • 5% Pain in One Shoulder
    • 3% Swollen Finger
    • 2% Fatigue
  • People who have experienced finger pain had symptoms persist for:

    • 34% Over a Month
    • 24% Less Than a Week
    • 18% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced finger pain were most often matched with:

    • 17% Boxer's Fracture
    • 2% Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Finger Pain Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having finger pain.

Take a quiz