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Can nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs treat dactylitis (sausage fingers)?

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When your fingers or toes are so puffy that they look like sausages -- and they hurt, too -- you need to see your doctor. You could have a type of inflammation called dactylitis, or sausage digits. It can damage your fingers if you don’t get the right treatment. It’s common with inflammatory types of arthritis like psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are usually the first treatment your doctor recommends. These medications help decrease swelling and pain. Some, like acetaminophen and naproxen, are available over the counter; others are prescription-only.

Other treatments include:

Cortisone shots or corticosteroid injections. This treatment usually comes after NSAIDs. They deliver powerful medicine directly into affected joints to relieve pain and swelling. Your doctor may use ultrasound or a type of X-ray called fluoroscopy to guide the needle.

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Some doctors prescribe these medications for dactylitis. They target the underlying disease to slow or stop joint damage. They may also ease some symptoms.

Biologics. If your fingers or toes remain swollen despite attempts at treatment (the doctor will call this resistant dactylitis), it may be time to try a biologic drug. These medications also target the underlying disease. They could

be your best option to control dactylitis when nothing else works. You can take them with or without DMARDs. You get biologics as shots or into a vein (IV).

Reviewed by David Zelman on May 5, 2020
Reviewed by David Zelman on May 5, 2020

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Can NSAIDs treat dactylitis (sausage fingers)?

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