The joints of the fingers are commonly known as knuckles or joints, medically called metacarpophalangeal and interphalangeal joints, and they are those prominences that are noticed when we close our hands or when there is bone deterioration. Knuckles often become red, swollen, and stiff when there is an inflammatory disease in these joints that, if not treated in time, can lead to their deformity and immobility, as occurs, for example, with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
You may wonder then, why do I have red knuckles? What should I do? When should I see the doctor? Don’t worry, here we will answer all your questions about it, so keep reading this FastlyHealarticle if you want to know the answers.
Red knuckles of the hands due to rheumatoid arthritis
It is a condition of the cells responsible for lubricating and covering the joints, ligaments, and tendons. All of them, together, provide a support structure to the joints. When affected, they are deformed until they become unstable. This disease can affect any joint in the body. However, it is widespread in the wrist and knuckles of both hands.
Among the many types of arthritis that we find, rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common, for which you can see red knuckles. In addition to this common symptom, patients who have this arthritis tend to wake up with stiff and swollen joints. Aside from redness, swelling, and stiffness, with rheumatoid arthritis, you can experience warmth in your joints. However, there are specific symptoms of this disease which are:
- Firm lumps in the knuckles of the hands or in any other joint that is affected.
- Numbness or tingling in the fingers of the hands.
- Inability to bend or straighten a finger due to joint deformity.
To find the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, it will be necessary to carry out an X-ray, laboratory tests, in some cases magnetic resonance imaging, and the evaluation of a specialist doctor, who, through questioning (anamnesis) and the review of all trials Requested clinics will tell you if your red knuckles are due to rheumatoid arthritis or something else.
The treatment of rheumatoid arthritis aims to improve symptoms, both to reduce inflammation and relieve pain and maintain joint function. Some medications slow the progress of the disease.
In its article published in 2019, the Spanish Foundation of Rheumatology revealed the results of the prevalence of rheumatic diseases in that country. From the hand to the Spanish Society of Rheumatology, it has been estimated that almost 300,000 people have rheumatoid arthritis, verifying a mild increase in the Spanish population.
For more information about this rheumatological disease, we recommend reading this other article on rheumatoid arthritis: symptoms, causes, and treatment.
This type of arthritis is another possible cause of red knuckles on the hands. It is very similar to rheumatoid arthritis in some respects, but psoriatic arthritis is defined as the inflammation of the joints that people with psoriasis suffer from. Approximately 30% of people who have psoriasis go on to trigger psoriatic arthritis, but its cause is still unknown by specialists.
Apart from the fact that the signs of psoriasis itself alter the general condition of the skin in the area, the most common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are:
- Joint deformity.
Although the joints most affected by this problem are the hips, knees, and toes, the joints of the fingers and the knuckles are not exempt from suffering from it. By evaluating each of the symptoms, the doctor will give the appropriate diagnosis and indicate the proper treatment, such as the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and antirheumatic drugs.
The Spanish Foundation of Rheumatology, in its article published in 2019, revealed the results of the prevalence of rheumatic diseases in that country from the hand of the Spanish Society of Rheumatology, estimating that almost 215,000 people have psoriatic arthritis, representing 0.58%, a figure of the highest in comparison with neighboring countries.
Osteoarthritis in the fingers of the hands
Osteoarthritis in the fingers, also known as osteoarthritis of the hand, is usually another cause why you can also have red knuckles. It is mainly due to aging, a natural process that occurs over time and tends to generate pain and deformation in the fingers of the hands due to the wear of the articular cartilage. Being associated with aging, you will not be the only person who may have this condition. It is prevalent, and it will be a slow, tolerable, and easily manageable process for your peace of mind.
In addition to the redness of the knuckles, other symptoms of osteoarthritis in the fingers of the hands are:
- Difficulty performing activities.
- Decreased strength in the hands.
For its diagnosis, it will be necessary to carry out an X-ray, sometimes an ultrasound, and a physical evaluation by the specialist doctor, who, in case of having found the diagnosis of osteoarthritis, will indicate the appropriate treatment, including reduction of physical activities with the hands, as well as the administration of medications that will improve all the associated symptoms. In addition, here we indicate some home remedies for osteoarthritis of the hands that can help you relieve discomfort and pain.
Quiroga or gout of the hands
Commonly known as gout, chiragra in the form of this disease mainly affects the hands’ joints. Remember that gout is an inflammatory disease caused by excess uric acid, triggering the formation of tiny crystals around and within the joints. It manifests itself mainly in the joints of the lower limbs, such as knees or feet. When it occurs in the hands, it is called Quiroga. It triggers episodes of acute and painful inflammation in the joints of the hands, manifesting symptoms such as:
- The knuckles of the red arrows.
- Swelling in the whole area.
- Sensitivity and discomfort to touch and movement.
The increase in uric acid can be influenced by the consumption of alcohol, some medications, and some foods such as red meat, organ meats such as liver or kidney, and shellfish. It is common after 30 years of age and manifests itself more frequently in males than females.
How is it diagnosed? Your GP will need to take a medical history and an appropriate physical examination and will probably need to take a sample of the fluid found within the inflamed joint to look for the presence of uric acid crystals. It will also be necessary to carry out a blood uric acid analysis to determine its values . Finally, your doctor may request an X-ray or ultrasound so that the diagnosis is entirely accurate.
Just as you can suffer from an attack of gout in the knee or feet, you can also suffer an episode of chiragra. It will be necessary to use analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, to calm the symptoms.
The doctor can suggest improving your lifestyle by exercising and eating a healthy diet. It is also essential to maintain good hydration and avoid consuming alcoholic beverages and cigarettes. Here we show you a Diet for gout. Also, if you want to learn more about this problem, we advise you to read this other article about Gout: causes and treatment.
As you may have seen, several reasons are associated with the presence of reddened knuckles, so you should immediately go to your doctor to determine what cause it is associated with and what you should do about it. In addition, if you not only have red knuckles but more parts of the skin on your hands or even if you have an injury or small wound, it could be due to other causes such as chilblains, eczema on the hands, atopic dermatitis, etc. ., that is why it is so important to visit your doctor.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why do I have red knuckles, we recommend that you enter our Bones, Joints, and Muscles category.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.