It can be difficult to narrow down what is causing numbness in the fingers, as this can be the result of several different conditions. Damage to the circulatory system, nerves or muscles throughout the arm can cause the fingers to become numb or develop a tingling sensation. Some of these conditions are temporary and can easily be reversed with a bit of attention to the symptoms causing the problem. Other causes of finger numbness may be a widespread issue that could be causing damage throughout the body which needs to be addressed to prevent a severe reaction.
Causes of Numbness in Fingers
Carpal tunnel syndrome: damage to the nerves in the arm can cause the fingers to become numb or experience a tingling sensation. A common cause of this nerve damage is carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition that causes a nerve to become pinched between the ulna and radius in the arm. Those who frequently type with poor posture or take part in activities such as bowling which are hard on the wrists are at risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Thoracic outlet syndrome can also cause the nerves to become constricted in the thoratic outlet, or the base of the neck where the arm connects to the shoulder. This condition can also compress the blood vessels, which will cause a tingling sensation in the fingers.
Radiculopathy will cause similar sensations, though in this case the nerves radiating from the spine to the shoulder have become compressed.
Diabetic neuropathy may also cause the nerves in the fingers to become damaged. Those in the advanced stages of uncontrolled diabetes can start to lose the sensation in the fingers and toes, which will slowly works its way up the limb if the nerve damage is left unchecked. Patients who fail to control their diabetes under control can begin to suffer cardiovascular damage which can require amputation if it becomes excessively severe.
Constricting the blood vessels can frequently cause the body to lose sensation in the fingers. When the fingers become cold, they will commonly go numb as well. Warming the hands can often alleviate this discomfort.
Raynaud's syndrome: if the fingers frequently feel cold and numb, even when the temperature around you is comfortable, you may be suffering from Raynaud's syndrome.
Frostbite: those who have been in cold temperatures for a long period of time may also be suffering from frostbite, which can cause permanent damage to the digits. Signs of frostbite include pain in the hands, inflammation, a burning sensation in the fingers or discoloration of the skin.
Peripheral vascular disease: this disease occurs when plaque begins to accumulate on the arterial wall, restricting blood flow throughout the body. Digits like the fingers are the first to be affected by such a disease.
Arthritis in the fingers can also put pressure on the joints, constricting nerves and vessels which can lead to the fingers feeling numb.
Some diseases will cause the digits to feel numb as they begin to affect the body. In extreme cases, leprosy can cause the fingers to become numb as the bacteria begin to harm the flesh. HIV/AIDS, cervical spondylosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, Lyme disease, Sjogren's snytrome or paraneoplastic syndromes in the nervous syndrome can cause the fingers to become numb. Damage to the body caused by conditions such as alcoholism or an injury to the spine can also cause the fingers to become numb.
Treatments of Numbness in Fingers
For swelling. When you begin to feel numbness in the fingers, inspect the hand and arm for swelling or injury. If you notice swelling or pressure, take an anti-inflammatory product to relieve your discomfort. Adding turmeric or rosemary to food or taking a supplement containing these ingredients can also help take down swelling in the arm to relieve numbness in the fingers. Icing the wrist may also help take down swelling that affects the fingers. If numbness persists after the swelling has receded, take supplements containing magnesium phosphate, which boosts nerve health.
For soreness. When the arm feels irritated or sore, you may need to rest it until the swelling or injury heals. Avoid strenuous activities that require you to stress your hand, wrist, arm or shoulder for up to two weeks, depending on the severity of your symptoms. If the pain or damage is severe, including cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, you should place a splint on the wrist. This will hold the hand in a steady position so the body can focus on repairing the damage to the vessels and nerves in the area.
For carpal tunnel syndrome. Those suffering from hardened vessels or carpal tunnel syndrome may need to perform exercises to help build muscle strength in the area. Curls or stretches are recommended to encourage blood flow to the fingers that may decrease numbness. Be gentle and avoid causing stress to the arm which could worsen your condition, and rest the arms between sessions. Hold your arms in a neutral position, especially when performing tasks such as typing which put stress on the wrists to allow healthy muscle to grow.
For severe conditions. If it has been several days and the numbness in the hands does not subside, talk to your doctor about what may be causing the problem. Your doctor will run tests to determine what is causing the numbness so they can recommend stronger medication or a brace that will help your body repair any damage. In extreme cases, patients may be given a steroid injection to reduce swelling and return sensation to the fingers.