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Causes and Treatment of Pain in Tip of Finger When Pressed

By September 2, 2022No Comments

Our fingertips have more temperature and touch receptors than any other body part. They instantly sense pain and tenderness when your fingers are pressed.

Finger pain is a cramp-like, throbbing ache in your fingers and thumb. Many factors can result in fingertip pain, including intense exertion, the Raynaud phenomenon, frostbite, or any skin condition. 

To treat mild pains, you can adopt some lifestyle changes. However, in severe cases, you might need to go for a surgery or non-invasive treatment, such as stem cell therapy or plasma-rich platelets (PRP) therapy. 

Causes of Pain in Fingertips

You can feel pain in tip of finger when pressed due to certain environmental and medical conditions. If you have any health issues related to nerves, bones, or muscles, you’re likely to feel pain in your fingertips.

Common causes of pain in fingertips:

Overexertion

Extensive physical activities that you perform with your fingers can cause fingertip pain in the long run. This is especially the case when you do a high-intensity activity for the first time. 

Some activities leading to fingertip pains can be prolonged finger pushups, typing on a computer, or lifting something with your fingers. 

Symptoms

  • Severe pain when pressed
  • Aching pain

Pinched Nerve

When the sensory nerves in your fingertips are compressed, it leads to fingertip pain, also known as pinched nerves. These nerve compressions can occur anywhere along the nerve course, including the spine’s nerve root. 

One common cause of nerve root compression is hernia of intervertebral discs. Pinched nerves may also affect the wrist, causing carpal tunnel syndrome and severe fingertip pain.

Symptoms

  • Throbbing pain in fingers or whole hand
  • Tingling in the fingers

Frostbite 

Frostbite is when your fingers’ skin and underlying tissues freeze. The primary cause of frostbites is prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures, leading to severe injuries and pain in the fingertips.

Symptoms

  • Cold, hard, and white skin with a dull pain in the tip of fingers
  • Loss of sense
  • Severe pain in the fingertips when the tissues start to unfrost

Raynaud Phenomenon

It refers to the unusual reaction of peripheral blood vessels to cold conditions. In Raynaud Phenomenon, you may feel spasms that restrict blood flow to the fingers, ears, toes, and nose (vasoconstriction).

Symptoms

  • Cold fingertips
  • Changes in the fingers’ color when exposed to cold or stress. Your fingers will turn from white to blue when the blood flow constricts. Then, they change to red when the blood flows normally.
  • Numb fingers
  • Ulcers in fingertips
  • Severe pain in tip of finger when pressed

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy refers to the damage of the nerves, resulting in pain, tingling in the arms and legs, and numbness of the finger tips. Certain health conditions, like diabetes, can cause this condition.

Symptoms

  • Numbness of fingers
  • Prickling or tingling in the fingertips
  • Extreme touch sensitivity 

Trauma

Injuries or trauma to the fingers is one of the most common causes of fingertip pain. Finger injuries can be mild, affecting only the skin’s outer layers and subcutaneous tissues. In severe cases, the injury can damage the finger’s tendons, bones, ligaments, and muscles.

Some common causes of trauma are cuts or lacerations from sharp objects. You may not notice these injuries in the beginning, but they become evident when you press your fingertips.

Symptoms

  • Burning sensation in fingers
  • Intense pressure on the fingertips
  • Tickling in the fingers 
  • Numbness

Skin Conditions

Any skin condition that affects your fingers can also cause pain in your fingertips. The two most common inflammatory skin conditions are:

  • Shingles. It occurs when the chickenpox virus reactivates in your body. Shingles cause pain in the upper part of your body, including fingertips and hands. 
  • Cellulitis. It is a bacterial infection that damages the underlying tissues of your skin. Cellulitis may cause inflammation or pain in fingers and hands. 

Fingernail Problems

Nail conditions can also lead to pain in tip of finger when pressed. You may feel pain in your fingertips if you have any nail injury and infection or sensitive nail bed. The common causes of fingernail injuries are nail biting, trauma, and poor manicure.

Other Problems

Apart from the above causes, you may feel pain in your fingertips due to:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness of joints
  • Osteoporosis, resulting in weak bones that are susceptible to fractures
  • Skin blisters, a pocket of pus or blood on the skin
  • Fibromyalgia, a disorder of muscles and soft tissues that causes severe pain
  • Cardiac pain
  • Insect bites and stings

How to Treat Pain in Tip of Finger When Pressed? 

pain in tip of finger when pressed

There are two types of treatments for fingertip pain. Choosing the right treatment depends on the intensity of your pain. 

Lifestyle Changes

You can treat your fingertip pain with a few lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Avoiding cold triggers at home and work. If you feel sudden stiffness in your fingers, use gloves for warmth.
  • Stop smoking or try to curb it. Excessive smoking can narrow down the blood vessels, restricting blood flow to your fingers. 
  • Avoid caffeine.
  • Try to keep your blood pressure under control by avoiding the triggers. 
  • Include healthy and nutritious foods in your diet.
  • If you have frostbite, never warm your fingers with direct heat from lamps, heating pads, or fireplace. Instead, soak your hands in warm water, approximately at 99 to 108 F (37 to 42 C), for 15 to 30 minutes. 
  • Apply heat or ice to your fingertips when you feel sudden pain.

Non-Invasive Methods

If changing your lifestyle doesn’t work out for you, go for non-invasive pain-alleviating methods. The two most effective ones are:

  • Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy involves the replacement of the infected or diseased cells in your body with healthy ones. This treatment has a minimal recovery time but gives the same results as surgical intervention.

If damaged cells or tissues are the reason you feel pain in your fingertips, your healthcare provider may suggest you stem cell therapy. It is a less painful method to stabilize the mobility of your fingertip.

  • Platelet-Rich-Plasma Therapy (PRP)

Platelet-rich plasma consists of plasma and platelets. The platelets are responsible for blood clotting after you experience an injury. In PRP, clinicians create platelet-rich plasma by taking your blood sample and placing it into a centrifuge device. 

The device spins rapidly to separate your blood components from the platelet and concentrate them within the plasma. This solution is then injected into the tendons of your injured or inflamed fingers. PRP is a less painful method with a quick recovery time.

Pain in fingertips is quite common, and you can treat it with a few lifestyle changes. But if the pain doesn’t go away, consult a healthcare professional at your earliest convenience.

Dr. Matthew HC Otten

Director of Regenerative Orthopedic and Sports Medicine
Fellowship-trained & Board Certified in Sports medicine
Director Angiography at Harvard Clinical Research Institute
Michigan State University Alumni

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