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The human hand is made up of multiple bones, tendons, nerves, joints, and other connective tissue. Damage to any one of these structures can result in pain, inflammation, swelling, and discomfort in the fingers and joints of the hands.

Some common causes that can cause painful finger joints include:


 Arthritis, or inflammation of the joints, affects joints all over the body and is extremely commonly seen in the hands. While there are over 100 different types of arthritis, the two most commonly seen in relation to the hands include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is usually caused to wear and tear seen by the body over many years while rheumatoid arthritis is autoimmune in origin.

The symptoms include pain in the joints of the fingers, pain in the wrist, pain after using the hands for a long amount of time, warm feeling at the site of pain, difficulty in gripping things, stiffness early in the morning, and swelling around the finger joints.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

The carpal tunnel is an actual passage through which pass some very important structures. It is located near the base of the hand and one of the things that pass through it is the median nerve. If the carpal tunnel starts to narrow, then it puts pressure on the median nerve and starts to squeeze it.

The cause for the narrowing of the tunnel could be chronic inflammation, injury to the tendons ion the area, or remain unknown.

The symptoms of this external pressure on the median nerve include pain around the index finger, the middle finger, and the thumb. A burning sensation, tingling sensation, or even loss of sensation altogether can also be seen in other parts of the hand.

Ganglion cysts

Typically, a ganglion cyst does not cause too much pain in the hand or finger joints, however, in some cases, it can become large enough to start applying pressure on the nerves nearby and cause a problem.

A ganglion cyst is a fluid-filled structure that is usually visible as mass or lump on the back of the wrist.  It is soft and depressible and does not require any treatment if there are no symptoms associated with it. If however, there is an appearance of pain, numbness, or altered sensation in the hand then it may need to be surgically treated.


Another condition that causes a severe amount of pain in the joints of the body is gout. Technically, it is another complex form of arthritis and affects the joint of the big toe the most commonly. The feet, hands, wrist, and finger joints can also be affected by gout.

Gout causes intense episodes of pain, enough for the affected person to seek immediate care and intervention.  A burning sensation, tenderness of the affected joint, swelling in the region, and redness are all symptoms that are seen.

The burning sensation can be so severe that patients sometimes complain of their hand being on fire.

An episode of gout is treated with Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain medication as well as colchicine.

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