Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Swollen index finger - why?"

ZocdocAnswersSwollen index finger - why?


I'm a 34 year old female in relatively good health (only issue IBS) I've been having soreness, swelling in my left index finger for some time now. I think it may have started due to using it too much to stretch the skin for tweezing (I'm a beautician). Recently (past two weeks or so) the swelling has gotten much worse where it is hard to bend it fully and it is quite painful. Also, weirdly it gets much worse after sleeping. I find it helps to massage and exercise it a bit but its quite bad today and have very limited range of motion. Any thoughts on what this could be and treatment? Thanks in advance!


Since this has been going on for quite a while, I would definitely recommend that you go see your primary care doctor for an evaluation and some initial advice. Based on your description of what is going on, I think that your intuition may very well be correct, and this may be related to some sort of repetitive use or strain injury from working so hard with your hands all the time. Tendonitis, which is an inflammation around the tendons in the fingers, is a relatively common problem and could definitely give the symptoms you are describing. It is not uncommon for this pain to be worse at night, because this is at the end of your day of work, when the strain is most pronounced. It is important, however, to rule out any other more serious problems, such as an infection in the joint or finger, or an arthritis. Your primary care doctor should be able to figure all of this out with a simple physical examination and, perhaps, some blood work or x-rays. If your doctor does think this is just a strain injury, then they will likely prescribe some anti inflammatory medications, and they may also recommend splinting the finger.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.