What are the signs of finger problems?

Finger symptoms include pain, numbness, weakness, stiffness, or problems moving the affected finger. Finger symptoms can result from damage or injury to any of the structures in the finger, including bones, joints, tendons, nerves, muscles, blood vessels, connective tissue, skin, or fingernails. The symptoms may be constant or variable and may improve or worsen with movement. If finger pain is present, it may be described as sharp, dull, stabbing, burning or throbbing, ranging in intensity from mild to severe. Sometimes, pain perceived in the fingers is actually referred pain that originates from injury or disease elsewhere in the body.

Depending on the cause, finger symptoms may be present in only one finger or even a small part of a finger, such as the nail or fingertip. Other conditions may affect all fingers on both hands. Arthritis and other types of degenerative joint disease are among the most common causes of finger symptoms, along with injuries and trauma. Deformities, either present at birth (congenital) or acquired later, can also cause finger symptoms. In other cases, finger symptoms may be related to a chronic underlying disease that affects other regions of the body. For example, bluish discoloration (cyanosis) and enlargement (clubbing) of the fingertips are characteristics seen in many chronic lung diseases in which the body does not receive adequate oxygen.

Diseases or conditions that affect the nerves and muscles, such as cerebral palsy and myasthenia gravis (a disorder causing muscle weakness), can be associated with symptoms that involve both the arm and the fingers. Disorders of the spine, such as infection, fracture, tumor, or disc disease, often produce symptoms in the arm and fingers. Infections of the cuticle (paronychia), skin and underlying tissue (cellulitis), or bone (osteomyelitis) are further causes of finger symptoms.

The duration and course of finger symptoms vary widely, depending on the cause. Symptoms caused by injury often have a sudden onset. In other cases, finger symptoms resulting from wear-and-tear damage develop slowly and persist or worsen over time.

The sudden onset of weakness or numbness in the arms or fingers, especially if it occurs on only one side of the body, can be a sign of stroke. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you have sudden weakness, paralysis or numbness in your fingers. 

If your finger symptoms are persistent or cause you concern, seek prompt medical care.


What other symptoms might occur with finger symptoms?

Finger symptoms may be accompanied by other symptoms, depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that affect the finger may also involve other body systems.

Traumatic symptoms that may occur along with finger symptoms

Finger symptoms may accompany other symptoms of trauma including:


What causes finger symptoms?

Disease or injury of any of the structures in the finger can result in finger symptoms. Symptoms may arise from neuromuscular conditions, inflammatory conditions, infections, or diseases that affect the blood flow to the fingers.

In addition, finger symptoms can be caused by conditions that involve other areas of the body, such as the respiratory system, or the body as a whole. In... Read more about finger symptomscauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 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.

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