ZocdocAnswersWhat would cause pain in pinkie finger base joint?

Question

What would cause pain in pinkie finger base joint?

I woke up two days ago with a great deal of pain in finger at joint in hand. It was slightly swollen. Had not injured it in anyway the day before. Iced and elevated it then continued with usual day - pain continued. More swelling and pain the next day. Iced again. Painful to put on gloves. Unable to touch finger to palm. Very painful to the touch. Feel silly as know no reason for pain.

Answer

I would recommend that you see your primary care doctor. There are many possibilities of what could be causing your symptoms, some of which are minor and will heal on their own. Unfortunately, there are also some major causes which could be a sign of more significant issues. If necessary, your primary care doctor may refer you to a rheumatologist (a joint specialist) or an orthopedic surgeon (a bone/ tendon/ ligament surgeon). As for what could be causing your pain, the first thing to rule out is trauma. Have you hurt your finger? This -- even if minor -- can lead to bone, ligament or muscle injury. Another form of trauma that is less commonly recognized is a repetitive stress injury. This (tennis elbow is in the same family) occurs when repeated use (like from typing) causes inflammation in the tendon (known as tendonitis). Another consideration would be if the joint at the base of the pinkie finger (known as the 5th MCP joint) is inflamed. This can happen because of an infection, a crystal depositing (like gout), or because of the body attacking the joint (known as an autoimmune disease which includes rheumatoid arthritis or lupus). Talk to your doctor. While hopefully minor, this could be a reflection of a more serious disease. Good luck!

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