What’s Causing My Fingers to Become Numb?

What’s Causing My Fingers to Become Numb?

If you are dealing with numbness in your fingers, it can make even the simplest of tasks seem difficult. The loss of feeling in your fingers may prevent you from doing anything that requires a light touch or precision, such as using cutlery or signing your name.

But numbness in fingers is more than just an irritation. It can actually be a sign of a variety of health conditions. So to help you uncover the source of your finger numbness, we are going to look at some of the most common causes and what you can do about them.

What is Finger Numbness?

Finger numbness refers to the loss of feeling in your fingers. It can also involve a number of related symptoms affecting your fingers including:

  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • A pins-and-needles sensation
  • Weakness
  • A feeling of clumsiness

Causes of Finger Numbness

There are many possible causes of numbness in fingers. Here are some of the most common causes and the additional symptoms that will help you figure out the source of your finger numbness.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive strain injury. It occurs when repetitive motions or overuse causes a nerve in your wrist to get pinched or obstructed.

  • Numbness usually affects the thumb, index finger, and middle finger

Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical radiculopathy involves the inflammation or compression of a nerve root in your neck. It’s commonly caused by a spinal issue such as a bone spur or herniated disc resulting from an injury or aging-related changes.

  • Numbness and weakness may also affect the shoulder, arm, and hand

Diabetes

Diabetes affects your body’s ability to regulate your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar is an essential source of energy for many systems in your body, which is why diabetes causes a wide range of symptoms.

  • Numbness, pain, and tingling may also affect the feet
  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Cuts and bruises take a long time to heal

Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud’s disease is a condition where blood flow to certain areas of your body is periodically restricted. It’s caused by a dysfunction in your blood vessels that cause episodes of numbness that can last from a few minutes up to several hours. Sometimes these episodes can be triggered by stress or cold temperatures.

  • Numbness may also affect the toes, ears, or nose.
  • Affected areas turn white and feel ice cold.
  • When numbness goes away, the affected areas throb and turn red.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder, which means it involves your immune system attacking your own body. In RA, the immune system attacks the joints, and it can cause numbness in fingers and hands. The exact causes of the condition are unknown.

  • Joint tenderness
  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling 

Ulnar Nerve Entrapment

Ulnar nerve entrapment happens when a nerve in your arm gets irritated or compressed. Most often, the compression happens behind the inside of your elbow. It can be caused by an injury, overuse, or even just leaning on your elbow for long periods.

  • Numbness in fingers tends to affect the pinkie fingers and ring fingers.

How to Treat Finger Numbness

There are many options for treatment when it comes to finger numbness:

  • Rest the hand and wrist
  • Apply ice to the affected area
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil
  • Hand therapy is a specialized type of physiotherapy that can resolve many conditions affecting the hand and arm.
  • Functional braces or splints can keep your wrist or elbow in a natural position to avoid aggravating the condition.
  • Chiropractic care or massage therapy can help solve nerve issues
  • Acupuncture can relieve symptoms, stimulate circulation, and promote healing

Can Exercise Help With Finger Numbness?

Depending on the cause of your finger numbness, exercises and stretches may help. However, if the cause of your finger numbness is a repetitive strain injury, doing the wrong exercise could make matters worse.

To get the best results, you should consider getting help from a physiotherapist. They can identify the cause of finger numbness, determine if exercise and stretching will help, and then guide you through the process. They can also provide a plan to prevent the issue from returning.

Numbness in Fingers FAQs

What causes numbness in tips of fingers?

Finger numbness can have many causes, whether it affects just the tips of your fingers or your whole hand. However, if you experience additional symptoms, or numbness only in specific fingers, it can help you identify if you have one of the conditions listed above.

How do I get rid of numbness in my fingers?

The best treatment to resolve numbness in fingers depends on what caused it. The first step is seeing your doctor to get a diagnosis. But there are a few things you can do to relieve your symptoms. This includes resting your hand and wrist, applying ice, and taking anti-inflammatories.

Are numb fingers a sign of diabetes?

Yes, numb fingers can be a symptom of diabetes. But diabetes also causes a range of other symptoms that can help you identify it. For instance, it causes circulation problems throughout the body, so the numbness will likely affect your feet as well. Some other symptoms of diabetes include fatigue, blurred vision, and extreme hunger.

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