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What Causes Pain In Fingertips?

Raynaud’s disease hinders blood flow to the body’s extremities, including fingers. Peripheral neuropathy due to diabetes causes tingling, pain, or numbness in the fingertips. Frostbites are triggered by prolonged cold and result in numbness. Osteoarthritis can affect finger joints. Skin conditions like Shingles and cellulitis may cause fingertip pain. Shun cigarettes and caffeine!

Finger pain is a throbbing, cramp-like, or achy pain that’s felt in any of your fingers, including your thumb. The fingertips are highly sensitive as it contains more touch and temperature receptors than other parts of the body. Numerous conditions can cause fingertip pain. Pain in these regions ranges from mild to severe, depending on the cause. In some cases, the pain can affect a person’s daily activities.

What Causes Pain In Fingertips?

Certain medical conditions and environmental factors can also cause pain in the fingertips. Medical conditions that affect the nerves, muscles, or bones can also cause pain in the fingers and fingertips.

1. Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud phenomenon is a condition in which peripheral blood vessels overreact to cold conditions causing spasms. This spasm causes extreme vasoconstriction and blocks blood flow to the fingers, toes, ears, and nose. Raynaud’s disease most commonly affects your fingers.


  • Cold fingers
  • Color changes in your skin in response to cold or stress. First they turn from white to blue, due to vessel constriction, and then to red, when the blood gushes in.
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers
  • Ulcers in the tips of fingers
  • Pain in the finger and fingertips


Taking these steps may help control Raynaud phenomenon:

  • First, avoid the cold and other triggers at home or work. Use gloves to keep the fingers warm.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking causes blood vessels to narrow even more.
  • Avoid caffeine.
  • If you notice the cold and pain in your fingertips, soak your hands in warm water.

2. Peripheral Neuropathy

Certain conditions such as diabetes can cause damage to the nerves, resulting in pain, numbness, or tingling of the arms and legs. This phenomenon, known as peripheral neuropathy, can also sometimes cause finger pain.


  • Numbness, prickling or tingling in the fingertips.
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch


  • Keep your blood pressure under control.
  • Make healthy food and lifestyle choices.
  • Stay active.
  • Stop smoking.1

3. Frostbite

Frostbite is probably the best known cold injury to tissues. It occurs when the skin and underlying tissue freeze. Most cases of frostbite are caused by unprotected or prolonged exposure to the cold .


  • Symptoms of true frostbite include cold, white, hard skin with loss of feeling or only a dull ache in the fingertips.
  • The real pain in the fingertips begins as the tissues begin to thaw.


  • Protect your skin from further exposure to cold. If you’re outside, warm frostbitten hands by tucking them into your armpits.
  • Gently rewarm frostbitten areas. Soak hands or feet in warm water — 99 to 108 F (37 to 42 C) — for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Don’t rewarm frostbitten skin with direct heat, such as a stove, heat lamp, fireplace or heating pad. These can cause burns.

4. Finger Arthritis

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are typically the types of arthritis that causes pain in the fingertips. In the hands, osteoarthritis can affect the joints at the base of the thumb, in the middle of the finger, and near the nail bed.


  • In its earliest stages, arthritis causes a dull, burning sensation in your fingers especially your fingertips.
  • As arthritis worsens, more cartilage wears away. You may have pain even when you don’t use your hands, or when you use them very little.


  • Heat or ice applications may help decrease the pain.
  • Physical or occupational therapy by a professional provider could also be helpful in alleviating the pain.2

5. Skin Conditions

Any skin condition (such as Shingles ,cellulitis)where pain may be present and when it occurs on the fingers can be the cause of fingertip pain.


  • It is usually seen in inflammatory skin conditions particularly when the skin is severely cracked or peeling.
  • Infections in the fingers and swelling in the finger tips.


  • Treatment should be done aimed at alleviating the skin conditions causing the pain.

Other Factors

Apart from the above conditions, pain in the fingertips can also caused due to the following conditions:

  • Cardiac pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Blisters
  • Osteoporosis

References   [ + ]

1. Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy, The Foundation For Peripheral Neuropathy
2. Wrist, Hand & Finger Pain, Arthritis Foundation

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.