Signs of arthritis in the hand and fingers include joint pain that may feel dull, swelling of the thumb or fingers, and a sensation of bones grinding together within the fingers, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Small cysts may also develop on the thumb and fingers.
Pain associated with arthritis in the fingers typically occurs when the joints are active, such as grasping or gripping objects, explains the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Pain is often more extreme and fingers are stiffer in the morning. In some cases, joint pain in the fingers may wake people up at night. Pain usually increases during activity and is relieved when patients are resting.
Swelling is a common sign of arthritis in the fingers because as the joints are stressed, the fingers swell to prevent further use, explains the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. When people have advanced arthritis, they may notice that their neighboring joints become more mobile to compensate for the immobility of the afflicted fingers or thumbs. When inflammation increases, the joints affected by arthritis may become warm to the touch. People with arthritis in the fingers or hands may feel a grating sensation known as crepitation that occurs when areas of the fingers, thumbs or hands that have cartilage damage rub against one another.