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I have had an ongoing problem which has now reached a point where I can no longer ignore it.

My right pinky finger is having severe pain spasms and I'm not sure why it is happening or where I should now go (i.e., what sort of doctor I should see since I have no insurance and can't afford to play guessing games).

The reason I wonder if it is nerve damage is that about 12 years ago the top of the finger (about 3/4 inch below the nail and just above the first joint) was cut by a thin piece of metal. The cut seemed minor (left a 3/16 inch scar) and only needed a bandage, but it is the only damage that has ever happened to the finger.

I had no pain after the cut for years. About 8 years ago, however, I started noticing that any time I bumped the finger I would experience extreme pain. Then as more years went by, I also started having occasional pain even without hitting the finger.

Over the past few months, it seems to be getting much worse. Now the pain is coming more often. I've even been getting consistent flare ups for the past 2 days - and that never happened before.

Oddly enough, the pain is not in the joint or the scar area - it is forming above the scar in the outer upper right section of the finger (though is so severe the entire finger will hurt). Any minor pressure on the right side of the nail area, for example, causes massive pain. Same for the right side of the finger tip or right top of the finger tip. I can, however, press down on the left side of the nail and/or finger as hard as I want without any pain.

The pain is somewhat hard to describe. Imagine a hammer slamming down onto your finger at full force. That's probably the sensation - and I say that without exageration. It comes on VERY suddenly, fades, comes back, fades, comes back, etc. I can feel perfectly normal one second and then scream in pain the next. The pain itself usually only lasts for a few seconds, but can linger for minutes due to the severity.

There is no pattern I can detect and nothing relieves the pain. Cold, dry heat, wet heat, advil, tylenol, aspirin, aleve, arthritis creams, etc. Nothing helps in the least.

The pain has never left the one finger or moved into the joint, so I'm guessing it's not arthritis. There's no discoloration or lumps and no abnormal nail growth. I can also tell it's not the nail itself causing the pain in any way. No issues with moving the finger either - motion neither increases or decreases the pain.

So can anyone offer some ideas as to what this might be? And perhaps more importantly, what sort of doctor should I go to for something like this?

Thanks very much.

- 0V