Numb Fingertips

About Numb Fingertips

Numb Fingertips is a medical condition in which there is loss of sensation in the fingertips. Numb Fingertips is quite common especially after exposure to bitter cold weather. It is not a medical condition where one needs to think about a lot as it is a self limiting condition and resolves on its own in a matter of minutes when the trigger starting the numbness is eliminated or removed, although if fingers are exposed to freezing temperatures then it may cause some damage to the fingers and you may need to be seen by a physician. Apart from the cold weather, there are various other factors which can cause Numb Fingertips. Some of the factors are rigorous exercise, an underlying medical condition which may case other symptoms besides Numb Fingertips like pain and stiffness in fingers. The main reason behind the fingers becoming numb is undue pressure being applied on the nerve resulting in some kind of nerve damage which points to a more serious problem and needs to be addressed by a physician.

Numb Fingertips

What Can Cause Your Fingertips To Go Numb?

Some Of The Causes Of Numb Fingertips Are:

Numbness In Fingertips Caused By Rigorous Exercise: It is seen that after a rigorous exercise most individuals experience Numb Fingertips. When an individual exercises, then all the muscles and ligaments are used excessively and hence the blood flow those areas increase thus decreasing the blood flow to the areas like the fingertips which results in numbness of the fingertips.

Numb Fingertips Caused Due To Frostbite: This is also a common cause of Fingertips or fingers becoming numb. Frostbite affects the exposed areas of the body to the cold weather like the face, hands, feet etc. because of which these areas become numb. The numbness is experienced because when the body is exposed to extremely low temperatures the blood vessels constrict so as to prevent loss of heat but this results in decreased blood supply to the regions which are exposed to the cold causing numbness. This may become dangerous and lead to tissue damage if immediate heat is not provided to the individual. Apart from being numb, the fingertips may also become cyanotic and develop blisters.

Numb Fingertips Caused Due To Pinched Nerve: When there is undue pressure applied on a nerve, it starts to malfunction causing numbness and tingling to the region. There can be numerous reasons for the nerves to get pinched like arthritis, herniated disc, etc. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Cubital Tunnel Syndrome may also be a reason for a pinched nerve causing fingertips to become numb.

Fingertip Numbness Due To Overdose Of Vitamin B6: If an individual takes huge amounts of vitamin B6 chronically then it may lead to vitamin B6 toxicity which may cause numbness in the fingertips. This toxicity damages the sensory nerves resulting in numbness. Apart from numbness the individual may also experience skin rashes, increased thirst, and discomfort in the abdomen. If the vitamin B6 intake is not controlled then this may cause permanent damage.

Numb Fingertips Caused By Diabetic Neuropathy: This is a medical condition caused in individuals with uncontrolled diabetes mellitus. Majority of the people with diabetes have diabetic neuropathy. Uncontrolled sugar levels in the body prevent appropriate blood flow to nerves of the body causing nerve damage and thus cause loss of sensation, although this may appear about a decade or two after the diagnosis of diabetes. This condition gradually causes numbness and tingling in the fingers. This nerve damage can be prevented with adequate blood sugar control.

Numbness In Fingertips Due To Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: This condition is found usually in people who have to work with their wrists and hands repetitively at work and at home. People most prone to this condition are typists, data entry workers, musicians, playing sports like tennis, badminton and the like. These activities put pressure in the median nerve on the wrist resulting in numbness of the wrist and fingers. The symptoms of Numb Fingertips worsen at night.

Numb Fingertips Due To Raynaud's Disease: This is quite a rare medical condition in which the blood vessels that are present in the fingers become narrow due to spasms and thus there is inappropriate blood flow to this area causing numbness in the fingertips. The affected area may become cyanotic and pale and the numbness disappears once normal blood flow is restored. This condition is most commonly caused due to diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, scleroderma and the like.

Numb Fingertip Caused Due To Buerger's Disease: This condition is felt to be caused mainly due to chronic smoking. This condition is quite rare but it causes the blood vessels to swell and then get blocked due to blood clots causing reduced blood flow resulting in numbness. Initially only the hand is affected as a result of which there is numbness of the fingertips but as the disease advances it can spread to other parts of the body as well. If left untreated it may lead to formation of gangrene which may require amputation.

Numb Fingertips Due To Peripheral Neuropathy: This condition is caused due to failure of the peripheral nerve to function appropriately. There are numerous causes as to why the peripheral nerves malfunction but this condition causes pain and numbness in the hands and fingers. There may also be formation of blisters in the hands.

Numbness And Swelling Of Hands, Fingers And Fingertips With Walking: Swelling and numbness of fingertips is quite common while performing activities like walking especially in hot weather. Arm swing action while walking causes fluids to accumulate in the extremities. One of the ways to prevent finger numbness while walking is to keep making tight fist and releasing it. You can even use the squeeze ball to perform this action while walking to help with proper blood flow to the hands and fingers.

Numbness In Fingertips With Activities Like Playing Guitar: Numb Fingertips is quite a common complaint among people who play guitar especially beginners. Few people may experience numbness in the fingers or fingertips setting in after 45 mins to an hour of playing guitar and few may experience the numbness setting in sooner. It is important to note that playing guitar as such doesn't lead to problems with fingers, but there can be various factors causing fingertip numbness with playing guitar like improper technique, wrong posture, preexisting conditions like cubital tunnel syndrome or carpal tunnel syndrome or pinched nerve as had been explained above already. One of the best ways to overcome numb fingertips with playing guitar is to start exercises to strengthen your finger. You can start with performing finger pushups, standing wall press using your fingers, using hand grip strengtheners or exercisers. Regular practice along with performing finger exercises can help you overcome the problem of numb fingertips with playing guitar.

Apart from the above mentioned specific causes of Numb Fingertips, certain medical conditions can also cause Numb Fingertips as well. These conditions are multiple sclerosis, stroke, panic attacks, nutritional deficiency, lupus, and pernicious anemia.

What Are Treatments For Numb Fingertips?

To treat Numb Fingertips, the most advised treatment is to rest the affected finger and restrict its movement. Hence it is advisable to use a splint for immobilization. Some of the other methods of treating Numb Fingertips are:

  • Applying ice to the affected area as it tends to increase blood flow to the region. Also, gentle massage is of help in providing relief to the numb areas.
  • Treatment of the underlying condition which is causing Numb Fingertips is imperative in treating the numbness.
  • For treatment of numb fingertips due to carpal tunnel syndrome, use of NSAIDs like ibuprofen and Advil is of help in decreasing pain and inflammation. In case if conservative treatment is not helpful in treating the symptoms then surgery to release pressure from the nerves is the treatment of choice.
  • For Raynaud's disease, the treating physician will prescribe medications which will help in relaxation of the blood vessels and increase the blood flow.
  • For more severe cases, surgery may be contemplated in which the sympathetic nerve of the hand whose function is to control constriction of blood vessels is detached.
  • In case of Numb Fingertips Due To Buerger's Disease, there is no definitive treatment but to stop smoking which triggers this disease.
  • Medications may also be given for dilation of blood vessels and dissolving blood clots so that the blockage can be cleared.
  • Numb Fingertips due to diabetes can be controlled by keeping the blood sugars under control.
  • In case if nutritional deficiencies are causing Numb Fingertips, then alterations in lifestyle and diet can be of significant help.

To summarize, individuals who have Numb Fingertips, should maintain a healthy lifestyle by taking a well balanced nutritious diet, perform regular exercises, and take good rest and have adequate sleep. Individual should avoid exposure to extremely cold climatic conditions. Individuals should abstain from all forms of tobacco and alcohol. In case of any queries, the individual should consult with the treating physician to treat Numb Fingertips.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Last Modified On: March 26, 2015

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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