Arthritis in Finger Joints

Finger arthritis is a degenerative joint condition that commonly affects the distal interphalangeal (DIP) and proximal interphalangeal (PIP) finger joints. Symptoms of this condition typically include pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion in the fingers, often leading to difficulty in gripping and performing daily tasks. While statistics on its prevalence may vary, it is not uncommon, particularly among the elderly. If left untreated, DIP and PIP finger arthritis can progress and result in increased pain, joint deformities, and functional limitations, making early intervention crucial for preserving hand function and preventing further joint damage.


The goal of treatment for DIP / PIP finger arthritis is to alleviate pain, improve joint function, and enhance overall hand dexterity. By employing a combination of approaches, we help individuals manage their condition effectively, reduce discomfort, and maintain their quality of life.

Non-Surgical Treatments



Depending on the type and stage of arthritis you have, your doctor may prescribe different classes of medications. For patients with osteoarthritis, acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are recommended to use sparingly to alleviate symptoms. For those with rheumatoid arthritis, DMARDs like methotrexate, methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine, sulfasalazine (Azulfidine®), or leflunomide (Arava®) may be prescribed by a rheumatologist to slow progression and reduce symptoms.


Splints can provide support to the affected joint and lessen strain, as well as provide joint alignment. Your doctors and/or hand therapist will discuss splinting or bracing options and how often and how long you should wear them. You may be a candidate for a same day brace to be fabricated.

Physical Therapy

We refer our patients to certified hand therapists (CHTs) who have achieved the highest level of training in hand therapy. These therapists have completed their training in occupational therapy and then further sub specialized and become certified as hand therapists.

Steroid Injections

Steroid injections may also be an option for some patients to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Using X-ray guidance, arthritic joints are targeted with a fine needle, and a mixture of anesthetic and steroid medication is injected to provide pain relief. 

Surgical Treatments


Joint Denervation Surgery

Joint denervation surgery is a new and unique treatment option that combats arthritis by eliminating the associated neurologic pain pathway. This procedure addresses the “supply” of pain to the brain rather than the joint itself. 


This minimally invasive surgery involves inserting a small camera into the joint to inspect and repair damaged cartilage and bone. It can clean out debris, remove inflamed tissue, and smooth damaged surfaces.

Joint Fusion

Damaged joints can be fused together with plates, screws, rods or pins so they stop moving painfully. 

Joint Replacement

Diseased joint surfaces are removed and replaced with artificial implants made of metal, plastic or ceramic. 

Soft Tissue Repair

Tendons and ligaments around arthritic joints may become stretched or torn and require repair through techniques like tissue grafting or tightening.


Inflamed joint lining (synovium) is surgically removed to reduce swelling and pain.


Why Patients Trust the Center for Hand & Upper Extremity Surgery

Our state-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge technology, and team of fellowship-trained, board-certified hand and upper extremity surgeons deliver comprehensive care for the treatment of arthritis in finger joints. In addition to the latest minimally invasive treatment options, choosing a healthcare provider with their own surgical center streamlines care, convenience, and safety to ensure that every patient receives the highest standard and continuity of care.

Real people. Real results.

Meet John Doe,

Who underwent [treatment] for [condition].

1-2 sentences introducing the patient story (be specific) and enticing visitors to explore more stories about patients who sought care at the Center for Hand and Upper Extremity.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If you're experiencing persistent symptoms of DIP/PIP finger arthritis, such as ongoing pain, stiffness, or reduced finger mobility that hinders your daily activities, it's time to seek professional medical attention. Early diagnosis and intervention can help manage the condition effectively and prevent further joint damage, ensuring the best possible outcomes for your hand health.


What causes DIP/PIP finger arthritis?
DIP/PIP finger arthritis is primarily caused by the degeneration of the joint cartilage in the fingers over time. It can result from aging, wear and tear, and, in some cases, underlying medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
Are there specific risk factors for developing DIP/PIP finger arthritis?
Risk factors include age, with the condition becoming more common as individuals grow older. Additionally, a history of joint injuries, genetics, and underlying autoimmune disorders can increase the risk.
How is DIP/PIP finger arthritis diagnosed by healthcare professionals?
Diagnosis typically involves a physical examination, a review of medical history, and imaging tests like X-rays, which can reveal joint degeneration and confirm the diagnosis.
What can I expect in terms of long-term outcomes after treatment for DIP/PIP finger arthritis?

With appropriate treatment, most patients experience pain relief, improved finger function, and can continue their daily activities. Early intervention can help manage the condition effectively, ensuring the best long-term prognosis.

HUES Surgeons

Better Days Are Within Grasp – Start Your Journey to Arthritis Relief