Read below about swollen fingers, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your swollen fingers 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.

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A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Swollen Fingers

Updated on Aug. 29, 2018

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced swollen fingers. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Non - Serious Finger Injury

    Finger injuries are very common & rarely need medical treatment.

    The pain & swelling will begin to resolve within a few days.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    recent finger injury, finger pain from an injury, swollen finger, severe finger pain
    Symptoms that always occur with non-serious finger injury:
    recent finger injury
    Symptoms that never occur with non-serious finger injury:
    bent or crooked finger
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Dislocated Finger

    Dislocations of the finger at the base of the finger are relatively rare. However, when they do happen, they can damage the blood supply to the finger and its nerves.

    Good prognosis with rehab

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    bent or crooked finger, finger dislocation at the middle knuckle, swollen finger, finger pain from an injury
    Symptoms that always occur with dislocated finger:
    bent or crooked finger, finger dislocation at the middle knuckle
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  3. 3.Nail Infection (Paronychia)

    Paronychia is an infection of the nail folds, typically caused by Staph. Aureus. Or a fungus.

    Great prognosis. Recovery in the next two weeks

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous finger pain, fingernail pain, fingernail swelling
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  4. 4.Cellulitis

    Facial cellulitis is a skin infection that typically comes from other parts of the face like the mouth or the sinuses and needs antibiotic treatment. Symptoms can be pain, redness, warmth and swelling of the affected area.

    Dependent on severity of infection

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, chills, facial redness, swollen face, face pain
    Symptoms that always occur with cellulitis:
    facial redness, area of skin redness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  5. 5.Dupuytren Disease

    Dupuytren Disease, also known as Dupuytren's contracture, is a condition that gradually causes connective tissue (fascia) under the skin of the palm to thicken and become scar-like. Although Dupuytren's isn't painful, it does restrict movement. The thickened tissue forces several fingers - usually the ring and pinky fingers - to curl in toward the palm.

    This condition is chronic, and may get worse over time, eventually requiring treatment.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    finger joint stiffness, hand bump, thickened skin on the finger, swollen hands, hand injury
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.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.

    This type of arthritis can be managed with treatment, and permanent damage can be prevented. However, the underlying cause (psoriasis) is currently incurable.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    shoulder pain, lower back pain, joint pain, upper back pain, hip pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a form of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in your joints. It can affect any joint but is common in the wrist and fingers. RA is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that it is caused by the immune system incorrectly attacking the joints when it shouldn't.

    RA is a chronic disease which requires lifelong control.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, depressed mood, joint pain, muscle aches, daytime sleepiness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.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.

    With proper medical attention, a Boxer's Fracture heals within 4 months.

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

FAQs About Swollen Fingers

Here are some frequently asked questions about swollen fingers.

Can exercise cause my fingers to swell?

Yes, exercise can cause your fingers to swell. When you exercise, your heart significantly increases the amount of blood it pumps in order to get enough oxygen to your muscles. This is accompanied by dilation of the blood vessels in your arms and legs, which helps increase blood flow to these muscles and cool the body. This increased blood flow can lead to swelling as some water leaves the blood to the tissues in the fingers.

Which foods make your fingers swell?

Classically, salty foods are responsible for finger swelling. When you eat a lot of salt, your body retains more water than it otherwise would in order to keep its salt concentration within normal range. This can lead to bloating in the hands and feet, which you may experience as finger swelling.

Why do my fingers swell at night?

Your fingers may swell at night for a few reasons. Many of us indulge in heavy salt-laden dinners right before bed, which can lead to finger swelling. Alternatively, you may be sleeping in a position that leads to hand and finger swelling. Overuse of your hands at work may lead to swelling that worsens throughout the day, which you only notice once work is finished by night time. Finally, you may also get finger swelling from arthritis as a result of the accumulated trauma of a day of work or autoimmune inflammation.

Why are my fingers swelling for no reason?

While the reason for your finger swelling may not be clear, one certainly exists. Most finger swelling is relatively benign when a cause is not immediately apparent. Some reasons your fingers may swell include heavy salt consumption, exercise, high temperatures, arthritis, overuse, or injury. Rarely, finger swelling is a sign of heart, liver or kidney failure, but these are chronic conditions accompanied by other symptoms and swelling that is worse in the legs.

Do STDs cause swollen fingers?

STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) are not a common cause of swollen fingers. In rare cases, gonorrhea can spread to other sites in the body, including large and small joints. Most commonly, this involves joints such as the knees, wrists, and ankles, rather than those of the fingers. It is possible, as well, to get skin lesions such as herpes on the fingers which cause swelling.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Swollen Fingers

  • Q.Have you ever been diagnosed with diabetes?
  • Q.Have you ever been diagnosed with cancer?
  • Q.Do you have these contractures that limit the movement of your fingers? (See picture)
  • Q.Do any of your body parts (e.g., toes, hands, ears) feel cold?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our swollen fingers symptom checker to find out more.

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Swollen Fingers Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced swollen fingers have also experienced:

    • 30% Finger Pain
    • 4% Pain in the Middle Knuckle of the Finger
    • 4% Joint Stiffness
  • People who have experienced swollen fingers had symptoms persist for:

    • 37% Less Than a Day
    • 35% Less Than a Week
    • 13% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced swollen fingers were most often matched with:

    • 62% Dislocated Finger
    • 25% Nail Infection (Paronychia)
    • 12% Non - Serious Finger Injury
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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