Small, Hard, Soft, Painful Lump Near or on Knuckle on Hand, Finger & Big Toe

You might be slumped over a computer right now, rubbing your hands together and find a lump on your knuckle. Too much typing! Darn DNA! But we are here to point you toward science-based information about what you might be dealing with and how to treat it.

Our hands are our portals to the world and we need to keep them in top shape to experience life to the fullest. That starts with understanding the bizarre and the ultra common.

Small Hard Lump on Knuckle & Causes

Causes of knuckle bumps can vary, but fall into a few categories. One of the biggest causes is:

Rheumatoid arthritis. This inflammatory disease causes stiffness in joints. Some victims also get small hard lumps on the knuckle or other joints. They can feel like firm dough or like hard rocks. They range in size from peas to walnuts, if we are measuring by food. Body parts prone to the nodules are those that get bumped or pressurized frequently like hands, fingers, knuckles, and elbows.

In later progressions of the disease, nodules begin to pop up in odd places. You can get them on your vocal chords, and even on your lungs and heart. Until it reaches vital organs, rheumatoid arthritis isn’t life threatening. It can, however, make mobility and life enjoyment difficult.

Pictures of Hard Lump on Knuckle of Index Finger

Tales of old ladies with knobby hands spring from arthritis. That piano teacher, grandmother, or church lady you remember from your childhood was likely struggling with a condition that afflicts 1.5 million in the US between 30 and 60 years old.

Curious what that looks like? View these pictures of hard lump on knuckle of index finger and other examples:

Diseases with the Symptoms of Lump Near Knuckle on Hand

Arthritis of all kinds can present symptoms in the hand. For example:

  • Osteoarthritis is the most ubiquitous form of finger arthritis in the population. It can wear away at bones exposing a lump near the knuckle on the hand. It is seen most regularly in the mid-knuckle, fingertip, and the thumb knuckle.
  • Enchondroma is when cartilage grows inside the bone, rather than in a fleshy part or in the joint. It’s not cancerous, but it can be painful. If matures far enough it can fracture the bone.

What about a Soft Lump on Knuckle?

We have covered hard lumps, but what if the area is squishy? Perhaps it is full of fluid? Here’s what that could be:

Ganglion cysts. A commonplace kind of cyst that prefers to make its home on the wrist or fingers. It is a soft lump on the knuckle that resembles a water balloon on a stick. Irritated tendons or mechanical changes are thought to be the cause.

Giant cell tumor of tendon sheath. A tumor-like mass that extends from the tendons in the joint. They are easily removed, but tend to return making them a hated diagnosis (and potentially a chronic illness).

Swollen Lump on Big Toe

Many of the ailments that plague the hands also affect the feet. Here’s what to consider if you have a swollen lump on the big toe:

  • Bunion. Not just your grandmother’s feet experience the dreaded bunion (hallux valgus). Dancers and people who spend a lot of time standing are prone to them as well. It a bony growth that protrudes from the big toe or the little toe cause the foot alignment to shift. It can span from mildly annoying to brutally painful.
  • Callus. Rubbing against shoes can create a buildup of dead skin cells that leads to swelling. Exfoliating with a pumice stone or using mild chemicals will usually remedy calluses.
  • Gout. A type of arthritis that is characterized by extreme swelling. Fluid can pool in extremities so the feet take the brunt of the condition usually due to gravity.
  • Plantar’s wart. The virus that causes these warts isn’t a health risk, but they can be extremely painful. Removal requires laser, freezing, or chemically burning them off.

Growth Between Knuckles on Hand

We covered fingers and toes, but what about the in-betweens? The human body is equal opportunity when it comes to abnormalities.

Carpal boss. Occurs when the bone on the back of the hand overgrows to cause a growth between knuckles on hand. Technically, it is a manifestation of osteoarthritis where the index finger meets the eight small wrist bones.

Webbing. A particular birth defect leaves the baby (and later adult) hands looking webbed. It’s just a bit too much skin between fingers.

Some opt for cosmetic surgery to correct. Doctors will perform surgery to fix motor skill issues if the webbing interferes with normal activity.

Is There Anything I Can Do to Prevent the Lumps?

If this article terrified you, it just means you are human. Unfortunately, many of the described conditions above have no identified triggers other than genetics. The good news is that you can receive therapies, medications, surgeries, and other treatments to cure or relieve symptoms.



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