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