What causes a finger lump?

Finger lumps have many possible causes, including trauma, infections, inflammatory diseases, benign cysts and tumors, and cancers.

Traumatic causes of finger lumps

Minor and severe injuries, as well as internal trauma, can result in a localized swelling or finger lump including:

  • Broken bones
  • Finger joint injury
  • Hematoma (collection of blood in body tissues)
  • Sting or bite injuries

Other causes of finger lumps

An infection may produce one or more finger lumps in the form of a localized abscess or as an enlargement of lymph nodes near the affected body region. Infectious causes of finger lumps include:

  • Abscesses
  • Boils
  • Cellulitis (infection of the skin and underlying tissues)
  • Herpes virus infections
  • Papilloma virus infections (warts)

Inflammatory causes of finger lumps

Some conditions that lead to inflammation in the body may produce finger lumps including:

  • Gout (type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the joints)
  • Osteoarthritis (type of arthritis characterized by degeneration of the cartilage and bone in the joints)
  • Rheumatic fever (disease characterized by inflammation of the joints and of the connective tissue, especially in the blood vessels and heart)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (chronic autoimmune disease characterized by joint inflammation)

Tumors that can cause finger lumps

Both benign and malignant tumors can cause finger lumps including:

  • Fibroma (benign tumor composed of fibrous or connective tissue)
  • Lipoma (benign fatty growth)
  • Melanoma (cancer arising in the melanocytes, or pigment-producing cells, in the skin or other parts of the body)
  • Nevi (moles of the skin)
  • Non-melanoma skin cancers

Serious or life-threatening causes of finger lumps

In some cases, a finger lump may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition that should be evaluated immediately by a health care provider. These include:

  • Cancer of the bones or soft tissues
  • Melanoma skin cancer

Questions for diagnosing the cause of a finger lump

To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your finger lump including:

  • How long have you had the finger lump?
  • Are you experiencing any other symptoms along with the finger lump?
  • Is the finger lump getting bigger?
  • Is the finger lump painful?

What are the potential complications of a finger lump?

Finger lumps caused by cancer may have life-threatening consequences, depending on the type and stage (extent) of the cancer. Left untreated, finger lumps caused by abscesses or serious infections may lead to widespread infection in the body. Following your treatment plan for serious causes of finger lumps can help reduce your risk of complications including:

  • Inability to perform daily tasks
  • Joint deformity and destruction
  • Nerve injury
  • Spread of cancer
  • Spread of infection

References:

Finger injuries and disorders. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/fingerinjuriesanddisorders.html. Accessed May 11, 2011.

Osteoarthritis. PubMed Health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001460/. Accessed May 11, 2011.

INTRODUCTION

What is a finger lump?

A finger lump is a protuberance or localized area of swelling that can occur anywhere on your finger. Other terms used to describe the various types of finger lumps include bump, nodule, contusion, tumor and cyst. Finger lumps can be caused by any number of conditions, including infections, inflammation, tumors or trauma. Depending on the cause, you might have single or multiple finger lum... Read more about finger lumpintroduction

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with a finger lump?

A finger lump may be accompanied by other symptoms, depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Certain conditions that cause finger lumps may also involve other body systems.... Read more about finger lumpsymptoms

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Infections and Contagious Diseases


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