How to Ease Arthritis Pain in Fingers

Updated February 21, 2017

Arthritis, whether the result of trauma or disease, is a very common condition and a leading cause of disability. When arthritis pain affects your fingers and your joints swell and become painful, it can be especially disruptive to your life. If it is not properly treated, your fingers may become deformed, which will further increase loss of motion. You will need a physical examination so your doctor can evaluate the extent of your arthritis pain in your fingers. There are steps you can take to ease arthritis pain in your fingers.

See your doctor. You need to visit your doctor so he can examine your fingers. As a part of your medical evaluation, he may also recommend Xrays and blood tests so he can evaluate the extent of your arthritis and suggest treatment plans.

Take anti-inflammatory medication. Anti-inflammatory medications will help ease the pain in your fingers. They will also reduce the swelling that accompanies arthritis in the fingers. Your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter anti inflammatory medication or she may write you a prescription for one.

Ask about steroid injections. If anti-inflammatory medication is not easing your pain, ask your doctor if steroid injections would be appropriate for your situation. Steroid injections provide long-lasting pain relief, but they may need to be repeated. Steroid injections may also cause side effects such as tendon weakness, so discuss this treatment option thoroughly with your physician.

Try splinting. Splinting your finger will help support the painful joint, easing stress that is placed upon it during activity. Ask your doctor how to correctly splint your finger. Splinting your finger incorrectly, or wearing a splint for too long, can cause muscle wasting or even increased pain.

Inquire about surgery, such as joint replacement. Your doctor will refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon to discuss whether surgical intervention is appropriate for your condition.


Try a topical analgesic. Over-the-counter topical analgesic creams or gels can help ease the pain in your fingers. Always check with your doctor before using it, and follow the directions on the label.


If pain in your fingers becomes severe, or if it is accompanied by increased swelling, redness or warmth, call your doctor. You may have an infection in your finger joints, which requires prompt medical treatment, such as antibiotics.

Things You'll Need

  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Steroid injection
  • Finger splint
  • Surgery
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About the Author

Meadow Milano has been a registered nurse for over 20 years, with extensive experience in emergency nursing, labor and delivery and general medicine. She has written numerous articles for nursing publications pertaining to health and medicine, and enjoys teaching in the clinical setting.