When the joints in your fingers begin to hurt, it can limit your daily activities. According to the Hand University, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, arthritis is characterized by redness, swelling and pain in the joints, caused by inflammation. Degenerative arthritis, or osteoarthritis, primarily is caused by overuse. Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition caused by a virus or bacteria.
A joint that has been sprained or broken can damage the cartilage in your fingers and cause arthritis. Bone fragments may not heal properly and the joint becomes altered. Damage multiplies as the joints are used and the fingers begin to display symptoms of arthritis. Pain is the first sign of arthritis and appears even when the hand is at rest. X-rays can reveal the extent of the damage to the joints. Topical creams and inflammation-reducing medications can relieve symptoms, while changes in how the fingers are used can prevent additional pain and swelling.