Many people have lumps and bumps on their fingers as a result of arthritis. So what are they? And why do they occur?
Probably the most common cause of these lumps is osteoarthritis (OA). This is a disease of cartilage, the gristle at the ends of bones. With OA, the cartilage wears away and bone spurs, called osteophytes grow. When they occur at the fingertip joint, they are called Heberden’s nodes. When they grow at the middle finger joint, they are referred to as Bouchard’s nodes.
Treatment includes topical anti-inflammatory medicines, splints, and injections. Injections of steroid may provide short term relief but often the patient may require PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections for long term help.
Another type of arthritis, rheumatoid disease, can cause lumps to appear on the fingers at points where there is pressure. These knots are not inside the joint but are caused by the accumulation of inflammatory cells. These nodules usually improve as the disease becomes better controlled. Sometimes steroid injection helps. Surgery may be required.
The last disease that can cause lumps and bumps on the fingers is gout. These lumps- referred to as “tophi”- are caused by the deposits of uric acid crystals and inflammatory cells. These tophi almost always get smaller with effective anti-gout therapy.
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