What Are the Causes of Pain in Fingertips & Toes?

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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.

Signs of psoriatic arthritis include thickened, discolored toenails and fingernails.
Signs of psoriatic arthritis include thickened, discolored toenails and fingernails.

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.

Cold weather or stress could be the cause
Cold weather or stress could be the cause (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Effects

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.

Swelling is common for arthritis sufferers
Swelling is common for arthritis sufferers (Image: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Types

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.

Identification

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.

Cancer patients may first experience pain in the fingers and toes
Cancer patients may first experience pain in the fingers and toes (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Warning

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.

Smoking can restrict blood flow causing more pain
Smoking can restrict blood flow causing more pain (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

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