What does it mean when yours fingers are numb & tingly?

Updated April 17, 2017

Numbness in the fingers accompanied by a tingling or "pins and needles" feeling is a symptom of a condition affecting either the nerves or blood vessels. Physicians often refer to this as finger paresthesias, and it can be the symptom of any number of conditions including diabetes, stroke, seizures, carpal tunnel syndrome and Raynaud's phenomenon.

Isolated Numbness

If numbness and tingling in the fingers is an isolated experience after an injury such as a broken finger, accident or frostbite, the nerves and blood vessels may be damaged. This should be treated by a physician, and the symptom may not occur again.

Recurring Numbness

If the numbness and tingling in the fingers is an ongoing problem, the underlying cause may be anything from carpal tunnel syndrome to more serious health issues such as stroke or multiple sclerosis, all of which need medical attention.

Raynaud's Phenomenon

Raynaud's phenomenon causes fingers or toes to turn white and feel numb and tingly when exposed to cold temperatures or emotional stress. The exact cause is unknown but can be the result of constant use of vibrating machinery or blood disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Serious Causes

Serious health conditions can have this symptom including diabetes, multiple sclerosis, seizures or stroke. These causes can be life-threatening so medical attention is warranted.

Other Causes

Numbness and tingling in the fingers may also be the result of abnormal levels of chemicals in the body such as potassium or sodium. Certain medications could cause numbness and tingling. A lack of B12 in the system could also be the cause.

What to do?

Numbness and tingling, except for obvious causes such as your hand simply falling asleep, should be checked out by a physician. However, if you experience weakness, lose consciousness, slurred speech, difficulty walking or have numbness after a head, back or neck injury you should proceed to an emergency facility.

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About the Author

Vallierie Cureton is a marketing communications professional and writer with over 15 years experience writing articles, press releases, technical articles, marketing copy and web writing.