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Are swollen fingers a cause for alarm?

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Quick Answer

In some cases, a swollen finger is a cause for concern, as it may be a symptom of an infection or broken bone, notes Healthgrades. Most often, finger swelling is a sign of injury, infection or a degenerative condition. Inflammation and autoimmune disorders are also possible causes.

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Are swollen fingers a cause for alarm?
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Full Answer

Finger injuries that cause swelling may be related to repetitive stress, a ligament or cartilage injury, or some type of blunt force trauma, states Healthgrades. Carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, and septic arthritis, which is infectious, may also be the cause. An infection of the nail called paronychia can also cause the finger to swell, as can certain types of bacteria, such as cellulitis and Streptococcus aureus.

The cause for finger swelling is best evaluated by a physician, according to Healthgrades. When the swelling started, any recent injuries, and whether any other symptoms are present are important pieces of information to present to the doctor. Failing to seek and follow proper treatment can cause serious and permanent complications, such as finger amputation, deformity or in some cases, an inability to perform normal daily tasks. Additional potential complications include the infection spreading to other tissues, needing surgery or developing a chronic disability related to the fingers or hand.

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