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Video:The Causes of Finger Pain

with Dr. Nader Paksima

Finger pain is a symptom of different conditions, such as arthritis or trigger finger. Learn more about finger pain and what can cause it in this video.See Transcript

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Transcript:The Causes of Finger Pain

Hi I'm Dr. Nader Paksima, Hand Surgeon at NYU Langone Medical Center for About.com. In this video, I will be discussing about some common causes of finger pain.

Conditions that Cause Finger Pain

Most common causes of finger pain include arthritis, trigger finger, and trauma.

Arthritis is probably the most common cause. The age of the patient, and the type of history that they present with can clue us in that they have arthritis. Arthritic fingers usually appear swollen. They'll be stiff in the morning, and there's a history of some period of time -- 20 minutes to half an hour -- before the fingers start to move and the pain is relieved. Typically the pain is moderate during the day and at night the pain recurs. So that would be the typical history of someone with arthritis.

Now somebody with trigger finger presents with locking and snapping of their fingers, and they can experience pain either in their hand or their fingers and that's called referred pain.

So those are probably the two most common causes of finger pain, and of course in terms of trauma it's if an injury has occurred so sprains and fractures occur and that would of course depend on what type of history has occurred.

Treating Arthritis in Fingers

In terms of the treatment of arthritis in the fingers the initial treatment typically involves immobilization and anti-inflammatory pills. So the concept behind that is to try to stop the joint from moving. Arthritis is a lack of cartilage, so if a joint doesn't have cartilage, and if the joints continue to rub into each other, it causes pain and inflammation.

So what we do is we put a splint on, and that immobilizes the joint. You can take anti-inflammatories to treat the inflammatory component of the pain. Typically a three week period of immobilization and anti-inflammatories is enough to help people get over the initial episodes of arthritic hand pain. That works in a majority of cases.

Though if that doesn't work, then we can try more aggressive types of therapies such as cortisone injections and occasionally surgery is required for more severe and advanced arthritis.

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