Pain in your finger can seem like a minor problem, but it may signal a more serious condition. The first step to healing an injured finger is diagnosing the source of pain. Fingers are susceptible to injury due to structural frailty -- but seeking medical care soon after pain begins may allow for a faster recovery.
Finger injury is not uncommon. After an injury has occurred, your finger can be stiff or crooked, but your hand may not have lost its function. According to MedlinePlus, fingers may still be functional even if they do not completely completely open or close. Nerve or blood flow issues in the fingers may present as numbness or tingling. If your finger pain stems from an injury, seek medical treatment. Do not try to nurse a sore finger at home for more than two weeks.
Pain in the little finger can result from rheumatoid arthritis, which is a chronic disease. This form of arthritis causes inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues, and it can affect other organs in the body, such as eyes, lungs and skin. Rheumatoid arthritis is idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown. A patient with this disease has a confused immune system that attacks healthy tissue thinking it is ridding the body of foreign substances. Signs of this disease include pain in the fingers, shoulders, elbows, toes, ankles, knees, neck or jaw. You might experience stiffness for more than an hour after waking in the morning, and your joints may be warm, tender or stiff when not used for an hour or longer. Both sides of the body are susceptible to joint stiffness. Loss of range of motion and deformity of joints may occur as the disease progresses. Aside from joint issues, rheumatoid arthritis may cause chest pain from breathing, eye burning and seepage, skin nodules and numbness or burning of the hands and feet.
The most common joint disorder that may cause finger pain is osteoarthritis, a condition that is caused by cartilage wearing away around the joint. Cartilage, a tissue that acts as a cushion to your bones at the joints, allows bones to glide over one another. When this tissue breaks down and wears away, bones rub together, leading to stiffness, swelling and pain. When cartilage is lost, extra bone can form around the joint, resulting in stiffening and weakness in the surrounding ligaments and muscles. Pain often worsens with activity and when you place pressure on the joint.
People with Raynaud’s phenomenon experience spasms in blood vessels that inhibit blood flow to the fingers, nose, ears and toes when exposed to low temperatures or emotional stress. Raynaud's phenomenon can occur at any age but most commonly occurs in people over 30. Arterial diseases and autoimmune conditions put you at higher risk of experiencing Raynaud's phenomenon. Other risk factors include frostbite, smoking, excessive typing, piano playing and repeated injury.