What Causes Stiff Fingers?

Finding it difficult to handwrite a note, or struggling to button a shirt? If holding on to your hot cup of coffee is becoming almost impossible, stiff fingers are probably the reason. Let’s learn what causes this pesky issue.


The most common cause of stiff fingers is arthritis. When you have pain and stiffness in your hand and fingers, it could be from one of two types of arthritis.

  • Osteoarthritis is caused by the cartilage in your hand or fingers being worn away due to injury or age wear and tear.
  • The second type is rheumatoid arthritis which is an autoimmune disease.

It’s best to see Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas if you think you are developing arthritis while managing the pain with OTC anti-inflammatory meds.

a man with painful joints on his hands

Trigger Finger

This condition, also known as Stenosing Tenosynovitis, is more common in women than men. The covering that protects your tendons in your fingers can become inflamed or irritated. When this occurs, the tendons can’t move smoothly, and your fingers can even get locked in a bent position.

Past Injury

Joint dislocations and finger jams cause swelling and can lead to temporary or permanent changes which eventually affect the flexibility of your fingers.

Fractures (broken fingers) cause bleeding and swelling of the tendons. If the tendons become torn by the broken bones, it can lead to limited motion.


When you have had diabetes for a number of years, you can develop overall stiffness in your hands and fingers.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by increased pressure on the nerve that runs through the carpal tunnel in our wrist. This nerve controls movement of our fingers and with that pressure, you can feel pain and numbness.

This syndrome occurs from repetitive hand and wrist movements.

Dupuytren’s Contracture

This is mostly seen in aging adults and it progresses quite slowly. Fibrous collagen bands under the skin limit the ability to straighten fingers or thumbs.


Scarring after an injury or surgery can result in stiff fingers. In addition, when your fingers are immobilized during treatment, it can lead to loss of normal flexibility.

If you are having pain or stiffness in your fingers or hand, call Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas at (713) 714-5591 for an evaluation and treatment options.

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The Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas offers diagnosis and treatment for hand, wrist, and elbow problems in Houston, using the most advanced and minimally invasive medical techniques. Our orthopedic hand specialists and hand and finger surgeons are waiting to provide you with excellent care at one of our hand care centers in River Oaks, Webster, North Houston, Katy/Sugarland, or Baytown

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