Swelling of the fingers and joints, which is typically caused by rheumatoid arthritis, is treated with medications, rest, exercise, splinting and dietary changes, including eliminating any trigger foods, notes WebMD. Physical therapy and surgery to help restore functionality can also help.
Medications that are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis in the fingers include disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, or DMARDs, used in conjunction with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. Some DMARDs include Folex, Arava, Azulfidine and Plaquenil. NSAIDs include ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. Biologic response modifers may also be prescribed, and these include Orencia, Humira and Enbrel, among others, notes WebMD.
Splints and other special arthritic aids take pressure from painful joints. A soft ball, such as a Nerf ball, can be used for exercising the fingers, reducing stiffness and increasing dexterity. During an rheumatoid arthritis flare, resting the fingers and hands can reduce symptoms. Investing in lightweight cookware, dishes and cups, and installing rotary lamp switches can make daily living a bit less painful.
Stiffness and pain can also be alleviated through the use of moist, warm compresses on the hands and fingers. This increases the flow of nutrients, oxygen and blood to the affected fingers by dilating the blood vessels. A damp towel or heating pad is a good source for heat therapy.