Numbness in Fingertips: Causes and Treatments

Throughout your body, you have nerves that send information to your brain. Neurons in your spinal cord are responsible for transporting many of these messages to the brain. If your nerves are damaged or the blood supply to your nerves is cut off, you may end up experiencing numbness. Frequently, people will experience this problem after they have been in the same position for a long period of time such as when they are sleeping. If you frequently experience numbness in your fingertips when sleeping positions are not the cause, then there may be another condition at fault. To figure out what is causing your numbness, read on:

Causes of Numbness in Fingertips

Your nerves are extremely important for you to feel what is going on in different parts of your body. If the nerves are damaged or are not working for some reason, there may be a medical condition at fault. The following reasons could be the cause of your numbness.

1. Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis is also commonly known as osteoarthritis. This condition causes changes to the bones, discs and joints in your neck. Since it is often developed as a result of wear and tear, it is more common among older individuals. When you have osteoarthritis, pressure is placed on your spinal cord that can lead to numbness in your fingers and hands. A part of this condition known as cervical myelopathy can cause symptoms like problems walking, loss of bladder control, lack of coordination, abnormal reflexes, loss of bowel control and muscle spasms.

2. Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral vascular disease is a type of blood circulation disorder. It affects blood vessels outside of your heart and brain such as the arteries and blood veins in your arms, legs and organs beneath your stomach. The disorder gets its name because these areas are on the periphery—hence the name, peripheral vascular disease. Some patients may experience intermittent claudication, rest pain, numbness in their extremities, weakened calf muscles or feeling cold in the legs and feet.

3. Guillaine-Barre Syndrome

Guillaine-Barre syndrome is thankfully very rare. This autoimmune disorder happens when your immune system starts to attack otherwise healthy nerve cells within your peripheral nervous system. It can make it hard for you to walk steadily and can cause lower back pain. Your nerves are connected to the rest of your body, so the disruption can make your muscles malfunction. The first symptom is often numbness in your fingertips. Before long, the numbness may spread to your feet, arms and legs. You may lose badder control, experience a faster heart rate or have problems breathing. Some patients also report problems swallowing or chewing and difficult moving their eyes and face.

4. Type 2 Diabetes

One extremely common cause of numbness in the fingertips is type 2 diabetes. When someone has this condition, their blood sugar stays at a higher level than normal. In the pre-diabetic stage, some patients may not notice any unusual symptoms at all. Over time, complications and symptoms become more likely. Nerve damage can happen among diabetic patients that causes tingling, burning pain or numbness in your feet, hands, legs and arms. Other common symptoms of type 2 diabetes include excessive hunger, increased urination, fatigue and excessive thirst.

5. Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical radiculopathy is the medical term for a pinched nerve. This basically means that a nerve that runs through your neck is inflamed because of a problem like cervical degenerative disc disease, cervical herniated discs or cervical spinal stenosis. When you have cervical radiculopathy, it can cause you to experience numbness in your fingertips if the never is linked to your hands.

6. Frostbite

If you are not properly bundled up in freezing temperatures, you can develop frostbite. While the earlier stages of frostbite are easily treated, it can be fatal if it is not treated right away. Each stage of frostbite brings different symptoms. Initially, it starts to affect the top layer of your skin by turning it pale yellow or white. You may feel numbing sensations, itching, stinging or burning. In the next state, you may develop hard and shiny looking skin with blood-filled or fluid-filled blisters. In advanced cases, your skin may turn blue or black as frostbite penetrates your bones. If you have frostbite, go to your doctor.

7. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a common medical condition that millions of people suffer from. It can cause feelings of numbness in your fingertips as well as burning or tingling sensations in your feet or hands. You may also experience tender, red, swollen and painful joints. If the tendons in the wrists are inflamed, you can end up having carpal tunnel syndrome.

8. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Numbness in your thumbs and fingers can also be due to carpal tunnel syndrome. When the tunnel to your wrist bone becomes narrowed, the medial nerve that goes through it becomes compressed. As a result, you feel numbness in your fingers that is often worse at night. The most commonly affected fingers are the middle finger, the thumb and the index finger.

9. Raynaud’s Syndrome

Raynaud’s syndrome can cause blood flow problems. Your hands and extremities may feel cold and numb because there is not enough blood flow reaching these parts of your body. This often happens in cold weather, and you may experience pain when your blood flow returns to normal. Attacks normally last for just a few minutes, although some people may have an attack that lasts for up to an hour. Your hands and feet may initially turn white or blue, but they will turn red again once your blood flow returns to normal.

10. Other Conditions

Unfortunately, there are many medical conditions that can cause you to feel numbness in your fingertips. Some of these conditions include rabies, toxin exposure, multiple sclerosis, trauma, snakebites, malnutrition, necrotizing vasculitis, berberi and pernicious anemia.

If you have persistent numbness in your fingers, you should see your doctor. Your doctor can conduct tests to find the cause. Once the underlying medical condition is determined, your doctor may use a variety of treatment options to help you heal.


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