Twitching index finger | Anatomy of the index finger

Twitching index finger

Involuntary muscle twitches can occur all over the body, but more frequently in the arms and legs, including the index finger and face. They usually start suddenly and can be of varying intensity and duration. Some twitches are rhythmic in their duration, others are irregular.

As a rule, spontaneously occurring, occasional twitches, which disappear quickly, are not pathological. However, if the finger twitches occur more frequently and also in other parts of the body, a visit to a doctor should be considered, as a disease of the nerves and muscles should be ruled out, even though this is very rare. Those affected usually feel no pain during the twitching.

However, if they occur more frequently or over a longer period of time, there is a risk of muscle cramps, which can be felt as very painful. Some people suffer from finger twitching, including in the area of the index finger under stress situations, especially if they are very nervous. Depending on its severity, this can make the situation even worse, as targeted movements are sometimes hardly possible.

As already mentioned, the twitching can also be caused by neurological disorders, which should not be ignored if they occur frequently. For example, muscle twitches, even on the index finger, occur in the context of epilepsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or multiple sclerosis. People who suffer from Tourette’s syndrome have muscle twitches all over their body.

Diabetes mellitus leads to the destruction of tiny vessels that supply nerves. The undersupplied nerves perish. This can also manifest itself in muscle twitches accompanied by a sensation of numbness and tingling in the index finger area.

A tremor is a rhythmic, repetitive muscle twitching. It is often perceived as tremor. Parkinson’s patients suffer from it permanently.

In some patients, tremor also occurs as an independent clinical picture without any other underlying disease. This mostly hereditary form is called essential tremor. Worse diseases can be examined by the doctor with the help of various measuring methods and can at best be excluded.

The nerves can be examined using electroneurography, the muscles using electromyography. In both methods, the nerve or muscle is electrically stimulated via a small electrode and its “response” is recorded. The corresponding image can then be evaluated.

If there is a suspicion that the twitching is caused by a disturbance in the area of the brain, as would be the case with epilepsy, electroencephalography (EEG) can provide information. The EEG uses electrodes applied externally to the skin to record brain activity. The therapy depends on the cause of the problem.

Pain in the index finger

The most common reasons for pain in the index finger are inflammatory processes and wear and tear of cartilage and bone, i.e. degeneration (see: inflammation of the finger). A common inflammation in the finger area is tendosynovitis. The tendon sheaths coat the tendons.

The fluid they contain makes the tendons more slippery and thus reduces the friction. Those affected complain of strong, pulling to stabbing pain in the affected index finger. The finger is also often reddened, swollen and painful under pressure.

More often, however, the wrist is affected (see: Wrist pain). The causes are also varied here. In addition to an inflammation caused by germs, especially bacteria, persistent same movements, accompanied by increased friction of a tendon site on the bone, can also lead to painful tendosynovitis.

Such movements are performed during long computer work and during various sports, such as floor gymnastics, climbing and tennis. Musicians who play the guitar, violin or piano also often suffer from the symptoms mentioned above. The best therapy is to immobilize the finger in a plaster splint so that the already irritated tendon is protected from excessive movement.

Cooling with ice often provides relief. It is recommended to take anti-inflammatory painkillers such as aspirin, ibuprofen or diclofenac. A doctor should be consulted about the duration and quantity of medication, especially as the above-mentioned medications themselves often cause gastrointestinal complaints, and if they are used over a longer period of time, additional stomach protection should be taken.

Not only an inflammation of the tendon sheath leads to pain in the index finger, but also inflammation of the joints. There are three of these on the index finger. An inflammation of the joints is known as arthritis.

At the finger joints it occurs very often in connection with a rheumatic genesis. The typical signs of rheumatoid arthritis are morning stiffness. This means that after waking up the fingers are only fully mobile after more than 30 minutes, joint swelling occurs in more than 2 finger joints and the joints on both sides of the body are symmetrically affected by the symptoms.

Those affected suffer from pain, which occurs mainly during movement. Due to the constant inflammation, there is a risk over the years that the knuckles around the affected joints will be attacked, destroyed and deformed. To inhibit the inflammation, a cortisone, a so-called glucocorticoid, is often used after prescription by the doctor.

The medications mentioned in the case of tendosynovitis can provide relief from the pain. An additional medication to protect the stomach should also be considered here. Physiotherapy also plays an important role in maintaining joint mobility for as long as possible.

Numerous, newer drugs are able to block inflammatory cells and messenger substances and thus attack the cause of the problem. However, a doctor should always be consulted for more precise therapy planning. The last, major cause of painful index fingers is joint wear and tear, better known as arthrosis.

The joints most affected are the middle and end joints of the fingers, including the index finger, and the thumb saddle joint. The basis for joint degeneration is the previous damage to the cartilage. This becomes cracked and roughened and can no longer fulfil its functions as a sliding bearing and protective layer in the joint area.

The bones rub against each other and react to this with increased bone formation, which over time can lead to a painful stiffening of the affected (finger) joint. The increased friction irritates the inner skin of the joint, which is largely responsible for the production of joint water. This results in swelling of the affected finger joints.

The pain is treated with the above mentioned medication. Overstraining the affected joints should be avoided. Within the scope of an ergotherapy, joint-gentle working can be learned.