Explaining Clubbing of Fingers and Toes in Pulmonary Fibrosis


Pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic lung disease where the tissue surrounding the air sacs in the lungs becomes scarred. This scarring, or fibrosis, makes it difficult for the body to get enough oxygen into the bloodstream. The common symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis include shortness of breath, persistent coughing, weight loss and loss of appetite, and chronic fatigue.

Did you know that pulmonary fibrosis can be difficult to diagnose and treat? 

If a person has had pulmonary fibrosis for a long time without receiving treatment, the lack of oxygen in the blood may also lead to clubbing of the fingers and toes (digital clubbing).

Discuss this Symptom With Other Patients on Our Forums

Although the exact reason for clubbing is unknown, we know it occurs when pools of fluid appear at the ends of the fingers and toes creating a rounding effect. It usually occurs in stages, with the fingernails lifting from the nail bed first and then they enlarge and start to round. Find out more about digital clubbing here.

Five questions you should ask your doctor about pulmonary fibrosis.

Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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  1. Ron Reynolds says:

    Thank you for this article. It has given me added education re IPF.
    I have also noticed an increased level of “pins and needles” in the fingers which can become numb, if I persevere using my hands. After a time it disappears. Is it also a side effect of IPF?

    • Dee says:

      Hi Ron
      I too have increased pins and needles in my fingers but they are numb most of the time now, it makes things awkward when trying to pick things up! Sometimes my numbness will wear off if I use my fingers for a while. I suspect that it is one of the side effects of IPF.

      • Ryon says:

        Hi dee,
        I have followed your comments on various sites .
        I have had similar symptoms like yours
        At the start I only had slight finger pain .. then had finger numbness in my ring and pinky finger on both my hands
        I don’t have a dry cough as such but constant throat irritation.
        I have done all types of blood test
        Found that I am vitamin b deficient – 10.2
        Then I did CT scan found a small scar on my lower lung
        But doctors said that must be some infection when I was small ..
        MY fingers appear to be clubbed .
        And I think I have IBS too
        Can you please tell me about your experience

  2. Mary Kimmins says:

    I got finger clubbing as a result of radio active iodine treatment. The university in town requested to take films of my hands. The treatment was in 1978.

  3. Mary Bates says:

    I am interested because my beloved brother died from PF on Friday 1st February he had been unwell for some time and all that I read in your website are the symptoms that he had. He had chest X-rays but this was not picked up he was never one to make a fuss
    He went into Worthing Hospital on the Tuesday horrible to watch him struggle with breathing he was on oxygen the whole time but died 5 20 am Friday. I miss him so much I saw him everyday he was a special brother gentle kind and loving.

  4. Jayne says:

    I sorry to hear of your loss. It’s early days remembering the good times with your brother the laughter you shared is very comforting xx

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