Sausage Fingers: Here are the Common Causes

No, sausage fingers are not treats that you can buy at a local deli shop. Instead, it’s what happens to the fingers and toes when they become inflamed, causing them to look like sausages. In this article, you will come across some of the most common causes of sausage fingers.

But before we take a look at them, let us first get to know sausage fingers more.

Doctors refer to sausage fingers as dactylitis. Some people may refer to them as sausage digits. No matter the name, the fact remains that the reason behind sausage fingers is inflammation, a natural response of the body to injuries and illnesses.

Even though it has a sordid reputation especially among health-conscious individuals, the truth is inflammation is your friend. It’s what strikes when there’s an issue concerning your body that needs to be addressed. So in other words, inflammation allows you to attain healing.

Unfortunately, there are instances in which inflammation goes instantly from being an ally to the enemy. This is especially true if it goes out of control. Such can cause swelling, pain and stiffness, among many other things that are commonly frowned upon by doctors and everybody else.

Needless to say, just about any condition that causes inflammation can be the one responsible for sausage fingers. The following are some of the usual suspects:

Certain Types of Arthritis

Are you aware that there are over 100 types of arthritis known to man? Sometimes a lot of them share the same signs and symptoms, which makes it extra challenging for doctors to come up with the correct diagnosis and ultimately proper treatment course.

Only a few types of arthritis, however, are known to cause sausage fingers, making diagnosing them a lot easier. Some examples include rheumatoid arthritis, reactive arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.

Pulmonary Tuberculosis

There is a bacterial infection that causes the lungs to become inflamed, and it’s what doctors refer to as pulmonary tuberculosis. In some rare instances, the bacteria responsible for pulmonary tuberculosis spread to the bones, causing them to become inflamed, too.

Such can cause the bones in the fingers and toes to swell up and at times even change in shape. Most of the time, only a single side of the body exhibits sausage fingers resulting from bone inflammation due to pulmonary tuberculosis.


In babies, having sausage fingers may indicate that they are born with syphilis, which is a form of sexually transmitted infection or STI. Certainly, babies can get such form of STI from their mothers who are infected with it. By the way, it’s what doctors refer to as congenital syphilis.

Sausage fingers in babies, unlike in the case of bone inflammation due to pulmonary tuberculosis, affects both sides of the body, and such is the result of bone and tissue inflammation.

Sickle Cell Disease

Normal red blood cells come in the shape of discs. However, they end up looking like tiny sickles in people who are suffering from what’s known as sickle cell disease. Because the red blood cells are the ones that transport oxygen throughout the body, a change in their shape can be a problem.

One of the first few symptoms produced by sickle cell disease is sausage fingers. This is especially true among children who are affected by the said blood disorder.

Treatment for and management of sausage fingers vary due to the fact that there are many different things that can cause it. In order to identify the underlying the problem behind it, a doctor will consider the presenting signs and symptoms, the person’s medical history, and also request for imaging and blood tests. Once the underlying cause is established, it is when the appropriate treatment and management may be established.

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