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Finger Injuries

Causes of Finger Pain

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Updated September 22, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Finger pain is common. Symptoms can be the result of an acute injury, including broken fingers and sprains, or chronic conditions, such as arthritis. Once you know the cause of your finger pain, you can determine what steps can be taken for the treatment of your condition. Learn more about causes of finger pain on the pages below.

Finger Fractures

Finger fractures come in many shapes and sizes. Most finger fractures have simple treatments, while others may require surgical treatment. What is most important is that finger fractures are appropriately diagnosed, so the best treatment plan can be initiated.

Finger Sprains and Dislocations

Finger sprains and dislocations are common injuries. Both sprains and dislocations cause damage to the ligaments that support the finger joints -- in more severe injuries, a dislocation may occur, necessitating the finger to be "put back into place" or "reduced."

Gamekeeper's Thumb

The gamekeeper's thumb is the result of a specific type of thumb dislocation. In this injury, the tulnar collateral ligament of the thumb is damaged. This ligament prevents the thumb from pointing too far away from the hand. Often this type of ligament injury requires surgery.

Finger Arthritis

Joints are places in your body where two bones come together. Arthritis is a problem that causes damage to the normal joint surfaces. There are two types of arthritis that commonly affect the fingers: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Thumb Arthritis

Arthritis of the thumb usually occurs at the joint found at the base of the thumb, where the thumb meets the wrist. This joint, called the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint, is important when trying to grip or pinch.  Thumb arthritis is more common in women than men, and increases in frequency over the age of 40 years.

Trigger Finger

Trigger finger is a common problem that causes pain and snapping of the tendons in the fingers. The problem that occurs in a patient who has trigger finger is due to the tendons of the fingers, and the sheath in which these tendons live.

Mallet Finger

finger injury pain
Photo © John Mahoney, M.D.

A mallet finger is an injury to the tip of the finger. Usually someone who sustains a mallet finger injury describes "jamming" their finger. After the injury has occurred, the individual may notice that they are unable to fully straighten the tip of the finger.

Jersey Finger

A jersey finger is an injury to the flexor tendon of the finger. The flexor tendon pulls the finger down into the palm as you contract the flexor muscles of the forearm. The injury occurs at the tip of the finger, and typically the tendon snaps back to the base of the finger or even into the palm of the hand.

Finger Amputations

finger injury pain
Photo © David Nelson, M.D.

Finger amputations are serious injuries that can cause significant changes in the ability to perform activities with your hands. Therefore, if your finger is cut off, surgeons may attempt to reattach the severed digit. Not all fingers should be reattached, but you should have immediate evaluation to determine the appropriate treatment for your injury.

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