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Stiff Finger Joints in the Morning

author image Jae Allen
Jae Allen has been a writer since 1999, with articles published in "The Hub," "Innocent Words" and "Rhythm." She has worked as a medical writer, paralegal, veterinary assistant, stage manager, session musician, ghostwriter and university professor. Allen specializes in travel, health/fitness, animals and other topics.
Stiff Finger Joints in the Morning
Stiff fingers due to rheumatoid arthritis are typically worst in the morning. Photo Credit ring finger three image by Rick Sargeant from <a href="http://www.fotolia.com">Fotolia.com</a>

Waking up with stiff fingers is literally a pain. You might have trouble doing the things you need to do first thing in the morning -- such as preparing breakfast or driving to work. There are many reasons for stiff fingers in the morning, including arthritis, nerve problems, previous injury or overuse of the fingers. The information given about these causes of finger pain is not intended as medical advice, and should not be taken as such.

Possible Causes

Stiff fingers in the morning could be caused by a range of different problems with the joints or nerves in your hands. In order to get a proper diagnosis, it is essential you see your own doctor. One possible cause is arthritis. According to Christian Nordqvist, writing at Medical News Today, there are over 100 different types of arthritis which affect the body's joints. Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the extremities of the body, such as arms, wrists, fingers and legs, according to Nordqvist. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are typically most severe in the morning. Another possible cause of stiff fingers is previous injury to the fingers. Bones which have been fractured or broken in the past may continue to cause morning pain long after they have healed. Nerve problems can also lead to numbness or stiffness in the fingers.


Arthritis can be treated with medications, surgery or dietary modification and supplements. For any kind of painful finger stiffness, Dr. Linda Vorvick of the University of Washington School of Medicine recommends avoiding any activities during the day which could cause or increase pain. Gentle stretching exercises twice a day will also help reduce stiffness in the fingers. Do not force your fingers to "crack." Dr. Vorvick recommends anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen to reduce joint swelling and stiffness.

Environmental and Dietary Factors

If it is cold where you sleep, this could contribute to your stiff fingers in the morning. Keep your bedroom at a warm and comfortable temperature, and avoid cold draughts or open windows. According to Nordqvist, a well-balanced diet is also important for helping relieve arthritis symptoms. Supplements including fish oil and gingko biloba have proved helpful for some individuals with arthritis, while generally maintaining a healthy weight and eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables will also help. If your finger stiffness is related to a nerve problem, avoid any repetitive or painful activities which could make the problem worse. Examples of activities which may exacerbate a nerve injury include long periods of typing or operating machinery such as a pneumatic drill.

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