HEALTH ENCYCLOPEDIA

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Hand Numbness

Definition

Finger numbness is an abnormal sensation that’s caused by a change in sensory nerve function.

Alternative Names

Numb fingers, numbness in fingers, numbness of fingers, tingling fingers.

Overview

Sensations are carried to the brain through neurons in the spinal cord. If the blood supply to the nerves is limited or the nerve is otherwise damaged it can produce the feeling that your finger “fell asleep”. Permanent or severe blood loss (ischemia) can result in permanent nerve damage. Nerves in the fingers can be damaged when the blood supply is decreased over time, like in diabetes.

Associated Diagnoses

  • trauma
  • peripheral nerve compression
  • frostbite
  • beriberi
  • diabetic nerve damage
  • multiple sclerosis
  • snake bites
  • neuralgias
  • rabies
  • radiculopathy
  • peripheral neuropathy
  • pernicious anemia
  • toxin exposure or poisoning
  • stroke
  • necrotizing vasculitis
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • malnutrition

Diagnosis and Treatments

See your doctor if finger numbness doesn’t go away and is accompanied by other symptoms like weakness and pain. A complete medical history and physical may be required for a diagnosis.  Possible required tests include:

  • nerve conduction velocity tests
  • electromyography
  • imaging studies
  • nerve biopsy

Treatment will depend on the underlying cause and aim to relieve symptoms. Physical and occupational therapy and stretching exercises may help ease symptoms once the underlying cause is found and treated.


Content licensed from:

Written by: JC Jones MA, RN and Kristeen Cherney
Published on: Dec 17, 2014on: Jul 05, 2017

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your health care provider. Please consult a health care professional with any health concerns you may have.
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