Swollen Finger Tip

Swollen finger tip is usually a symptom of some pre-existing condition, rather than being a disorder on its own. It can occur due to fluid retention, often associated with premenstrual syndrome and pregnancy, or because of ailments like high blood pressure, injury, arthritis, poor circulation, infection, and carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.

Swollen finger tip is generally a minor condition which can be treated with home remedies. However, if the issue persists, or if it occurs with additional symptoms like pain, numbness, fever, etc., then patients need to seek medical attention.

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Symptoms of a swollen finger tip

A swollen finger tip may occur along with the below listed signs and symptoms:

  • There may be discoloration of the skin on the affected finger; it may turn blue or purple or become red like that seen during inflammation or allergic skin reactions.
  • The finger tip may be warm to touch.
  • Itchiness and/or burning sensations on the swollen finger tip
  • Increased joint stiffness
  • Tingling, numbness, and ‘pins and needles’ like sensations on the affected finger
  • The affected finger joints may be painful.
  • Pain in the swollen finger tip
  • Nodules formation

Causes of swollen finger tip

A swollen finger tip may be caused due to direct injuries, such as slamming the door on the finger or an insect bite, or as a symptom of some underlying disease. Some of the ailments which may commonly result in a swollen finger tip are listed below:

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  1. Fluid retention/Edema
  • Water retention is marked by increased fluid levels in the tissues and cells, in some parts of the body. This in turn can occur due to excess sodium intake, side effect of medicines, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, or a many other reasons. The face, hands, legs, feet, and ankles are the regions commonly affected by edema and lead to swollen finger tip, swelling of the knuckles, puffed or enlarged fingers, and swelling of the joints. There is no cure for water retention. Diuretics and other drugs can help manage and ease inflammation, swelling, and other symptoms.
  • Liver and Kidney conditions: Kidney or liver issues or diseases like kidney failure, liver cirrhosis, etc., can trigger edema and result in swollen finger tips as well as swollen hands, feet, face, and abdomen. It may be noted that these organs are essential to important body functions like filtration of fluids in the body; hence kidneys and liver dysfunction can cause water retention.
  • Idiopathic edema: It refers to those cases of edema wherein the exact cause cannot be determined. For example, it is known that the hands and upper and lower limbs are those body parts which are most overused. Walkers and joggers may experience swollen finger tips, hands, and feet, especially when commencing a workout schedule. The causes for such swelling are however generally unknown.
  1. Infections
  • Infections are caused due to entry of germs into the body, often via cuts or injuries to the skin. Infection of the wrist, fingers, or hands may be accompanied by a swollen finger tip. Affected patients may also elicit warm or burning skin, pain, oozing, and/or reddish bands formation on skin. Infections may affect just the top skin layer, or it may affect the tissues or bones deep within. Infection of deeper tissues, etc., may also cause fever.
  • Bacteria is the leading cause of most infections. However, fungal infections of the nail may also give rise to swollen finger tips. Patients may additionally experience redness, pain, and swelling around and within the nail bed.
  • Infections are treated as per the cause; antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections while anti-fungal drugs can help eliminate fungal infections.
  1. Other causes
  • Cardiac failure or other heart problems can affect its ability to supply sufficient amounts of blood to different parts of the body, especially the extremities. Patients may suffer from a swollen finger tip and/or swelling of the hands, abdomen, legs, and feet.
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition marked by swelling of the extremities after exposure to cold weather. Affected people may also suffer from skin discoloration, tightness, and pain.
  • Lupus and scleroderma are autoimmune diseases, wherein the immune system mistakes the connective tissues and other body parts to be alien and attacks them. These diseases often cause swollen and tender finger tips. Lupus patients also experience swollen limbs or generalized swelling and/or pain. Scleroderma patients may suffer from mild or severe pain and/or loss of limbs mobility in severe cases.
  • Arthritis is a chronic condition marked by inflamed joints in the fingers and other body joints. It may trigger a swollen finger tip as a symptom. It is important to treat the condition as non-treatment can lead to permanent joint damage.
  • Lymphedema can be congenital or occur due to varied causes like radiation, infection, trauma, or surgical removal of the lymph nodes, etc. It is marked by swollen finger tip, skin tightness, long-term overall swelling, and/or reduction in the range of motion of the wrists, ankles, or hands.


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