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From time to time I have a very painful index finger on my left hand--I am right handed. It is right along the outer aspect of my nail. It is not red and there are no signs of infection. When it is at it's worst it throbs. It lasts for a couple of days and disappears for a while. I have tried to find if this is a prediabetic symptom but can't find any literature pertaining to this. Any ideas??

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Hi there. It sounds like you could have the initial signs of poor circulation in the area. You don't mention your age, but if you are 50 or over, this is probably due to simply getting older. If not, then you most likely have Raynaud's syndrome.
The throbbing that you mention, happens once the blood starts rushing back into the finger after it has had its ischemia (lack of blood supply) episode. It normally can be triggered when you are in cold or damp weather especially, but sometimes it can just happen of its own accord. Try and see if it gets triggered if you sit in a cold room or if you have gone outside.
Finally, arthritis could be a suggestion although it doesn't sound right from the position that you mention.
If you read up on Raynaud's syndrome, it will give you tips and advice, even for the condition of just having bad circulation as both ultimately end up with poor circulation in the fingers. The Merck Manual even has extra tests that you can perform by pressing on blood vessels on either side of the inside of your wrist - watch what happens to your fingers when you press on the blood vessel either side, to cut off the circulation. Once the blood comes back in, check to see that the throbbing is the same, and hey presto, that will be your answer!
I was a diabetic before having a pancreas transplant and you only get symptoms relating to diabetes once you actually have the condition!
As a result of having had diabetes, I have reduced circulation into the same finger - I was diabetic for 20 years and have kidney failure right now, so my blood vessels are pretty blocked from glucose and cholesterol deposits on their surface. My finger sometimes goes numb and if I look at it, then I can actually see that the finger is white. Other times I don't notice it before the throbbing begins.
Hope this helps! Good luck!
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