What are the causes of pain in fingertips & toes?

Updated February 21, 2017

Painful fingertips and toes can have a number of causes, from a pinched nerve from sitting in one position for too long, to something more serious like a disease. If the pain reoccurs regularly, see your health care provider.

Expert Insight

When the blood vessels of fingers and toes narrows or gangrenous sores appear near the fingertips, resulting in throbbing pain, you may have Raynaud's syndrome. Usually caused by cold weather or emotional stress, Raynaud's syndrome affects mostly women and "usually occurs between the ages of 20 to 40 in women and later in life in men," according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.


Debilitating and damaging to your joints with or without treatment, psoriatic arthritis causes fingers and toes to swell up like sausages, resulting in a lot of pain. The fingers can become permanently deformed as psoriatic arthritis destroys the small finger bones.


Although the cause remains unknown, the disease scleroderma happens with the overproduction of collagen, the fibrous proteins found in bone, skin and other connective tissue. One of scleroderma's symptoms involves swelling and painful open sores on the fingertips and toes.


Pain begins in the fingers and toes in some cancer patients who begin or finish chemotherapy treatments, which feels like electrical shocks, burning or sharp, stabbing pain. This happens when the chemotherapy damages the nervous system, called neuropathy, which can take more than a year or longer to improve.


Notify your doctor immediately if you experience pain in your fingers and toes from chemotherapy so pain treatments can begin right away. Avoid smoking cigarettes if you have Raynaud's syndrome since it restricts blood flow even more.

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About the Author

Chyrene Pendleton has been a business owner and newsletter editor for more than seven years. She is a freelance writer with over 25 years experience and teaches a variety of topics, including alternative health, hair care and metaphysics. Pendleton is a certified television show producer, radio talk-show host and producer, and a computer programmer with a bachelor's degree in computer science.