20 doctors weighed in:

What causes numbing of fingers?

20 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Gluck
Surgery - Hand Surgery
8 doctors agree

In brief: Many things

While everyone talks about carpal tunnel and it is certainly prevalent there are other nerves and especially the ulnar that can cause numbness in the hand.
In fact, there is a whole range of things from abnormal pressure on nerves anywheres from their origin in the neck down to the hand, metabolic issues like diabetes, and more that can cause numbness.

In brief: Many things

While everyone talks about carpal tunnel and it is certainly prevalent there are other nerves and especially the ulnar that can cause numbness in the hand.
In fact, there is a whole range of things from abnormal pressure on nerves anywheres from their origin in the neck down to the hand, metabolic issues like diabetes, and more that can cause numbness.
Dr. Robert Gluck
Dr. Robert Gluck
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1 comment
Dr. Chris Oh
Numbness if caused by nerve compression - the question is "where is it being compressed?" If in the wrist - it is called carpal tunnel which is the most likely case, it can also be compressed commonly in the elbow. You could also be peripheral neuropathy where the nerve endings are affected.
Dr. Jeffrey Wint
Surgery - Hand Surgery
4 doctors agree

In brief: The

The nerve supply to the little finger can be affected.
A circulation issue can also account for numbness. Sometimes a simple bruise or contusion or a swollen finger can also make out feel "numb" or different when looking for nerve compression start at the finger and work your way up tot the neck any compression on any area can cause the finger to fell different. Although we generally use the word "numb" or numbness a true numb finger has no feeling at all. Maybe a better word is tingling to mean only a partial difference in sensation. Even a swollen joint from arthritis or a bruise to the finger can make the tip f a finger feel different. A swollen tendon or a trigger finger can also make the finger feel less normal. A contusion or bruise to the palm can affect the digital nerves that go to the finger. A site of compression can be a the wrist. The ulnar nerve at the wrist more commonly affects the little finger , but some people with carpal tunnel syndrome complain of little finger numbness even though we are not supposed to be "wired" that way. At the elbow the ulnar nerve continues up the arm and the inside of your elbow where you would think of your "funny bone" as residing is a site of compression that can give tingling in the little finger. Hoever usually little finger tingling from the ulnar nerve at the elbow will be accompanied by tingling on the top of the hand on the little finger side too. Finally a compressive site in the neck or at a lower cervical nerve root ( the lower part of your neck or cervical spine) can also give tingling as for circulation, there are a variety of systemic and localized conditions that affect circulation in the hand from ryanauds, a spasm of the blood vessels due to cold , to the decreased circulation ( and neve issues) of diabetes, to a disorder that is associated with trauma to the palm and interruption of normal hand circulation. Finally there are more severe conditions that can simulate 'numbness" in arm of exretemities that are indirectly related to nerve or circulation issues should one who has little finger numbness need to worry about all these things and more? The answer is yes and no. Thats for your health care provider to determine but if the numbness continues your should seek medical attention. From a hand or orthopedic surgeons perspective: a lot of those who have numbness in the little finger have cubital tunnel syndrome, which is a chronic compression of the ulnar nerve ( your funny bone) at the elbow in the meantime think about your arm position when you are sitting at the desk or kitchen table and typing, simply sitting and being on a keyboard both your hands rotated on the keys and the inside of your elbow resting on the table or table edge can also give tingling in the little finger! those who want to know more about cubital tunnel syndrome affecting the ulnar nerve can follow the link provided.

In brief: The

The nerve supply to the little finger can be affected.
A circulation issue can also account for numbness. Sometimes a simple bruise or contusion or a swollen finger can also make out feel "numb" or different when looking for nerve compression start at the finger and work your way up tot the neck any compression on any area can cause the finger to fell different. Although we generally use the word "numb" or numbness a true numb finger has no feeling at all. Maybe a better word is tingling to mean only a partial difference in sensation. Even a swollen joint from arthritis or a bruise to the finger can make the tip f a finger feel different. A swollen tendon or a trigger finger can also make the finger feel less normal. A contusion or bruise to the palm can affect the digital nerves that go to the finger. A site of compression can be a the wrist. The ulnar nerve at the wrist more commonly affects the little finger , but some people with carpal tunnel syndrome complain of little finger numbness even though we are not supposed to be "wired" that way. At the elbow the ulnar nerve continues up the arm and the inside of your elbow where you would think of your "funny bone" as residing is a site of compression that can give tingling in the little finger. Hoever usually little finger tingling from the ulnar nerve at the elbow will be accompanied by tingling on the top of the hand on the little finger side too. Finally a compressive site in the neck or at a lower cervical nerve root ( the lower part of your neck or cervical spine) can also give tingling as for circulation, there are a variety of systemic and localized conditions that affect circulation in the hand from ryanauds, a spasm of the blood vessels due to cold , to the decreased circulation ( and neve issues) of diabetes, to a disorder that is associated with trauma to the palm and interruption of normal hand circulation. Finally there are more severe conditions that can simulate 'numbness" in arm of exretemities that are indirectly related to nerve or circulation issues should one who has little finger numbness need to worry about all these things and more? The answer is yes and no. Thats for your health care provider to determine but if the numbness continues your should seek medical attention. From a hand or orthopedic surgeons perspective: a lot of those who have numbness in the little finger have cubital tunnel syndrome, which is a chronic compression of the ulnar nerve ( your funny bone) at the elbow in the meantime think about your arm position when you are sitting at the desk or kitchen table and typing, simply sitting and being on a keyboard both your hands rotated on the keys and the inside of your elbow resting on the table or table edge can also give tingling in the little finger! those who want to know more about cubital tunnel syndrome affecting the ulnar nerve can follow the link provided.
Dr. Jeffrey Wint
Dr. Jeffrey Wint
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1 comment
Dr. Lois Freisleben-Cook
Wow! How did you fit this great information into the limited space allowed ? Wonderful description .
Dr. Todd Sisto
Breast Surgery
4 doctors agree

In brief: Nerve

Injury, compression by other anatomic structures or metabolic deterioration such as in diabetes or alcoholism or primary brain & nerve degeneration disorders.

In brief: Nerve

Injury, compression by other anatomic structures or metabolic deterioration such as in diabetes or alcoholism or primary brain & nerve degeneration disorders.
Dr. Todd Sisto
Dr. Todd Sisto
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Dr. Todd Siff
Surgery - Hand Surgery
2 doctors agree

In brief: Nerves

Numbness of the fingers is generally a nerve problem. There are so many different explanations for this.
If the numbness is affecting the thumb, index and middle fingers, carpal tunnel syndrome can cause this. If the numbness affects the small and ring fingers, this may be the ulnar nerve at the elbow or wrist. But, problems in the neck can also cause these same patterns of numbness or tingling

In brief: Nerves

Numbness of the fingers is generally a nerve problem. There are so many different explanations for this.
If the numbness is affecting the thumb, index and middle fingers, carpal tunnel syndrome can cause this. If the numbness affects the small and ring fingers, this may be the ulnar nerve at the elbow or wrist. But, problems in the neck can also cause these same patterns of numbness or tingling
Dr. Todd Siff
Dr. Todd Siff
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Dr. Mark Deitch
Surgery - Hand Surgery
2 doctors agree

In brief: Nerve compression

Most often, numbness of the fingers is caused by compression of nerves in your arms.
The nerves can be compressed anywhere from the neck to the hands. However, the two most common sites of compression are at the wrist (carpal tunnel syndrome) and at the elbow (cubical tunnel syndrome). A hand surgeon can help figure out the cause in your particular case.

In brief: Nerve compression

Most often, numbness of the fingers is caused by compression of nerves in your arms.
The nerves can be compressed anywhere from the neck to the hands. However, the two most common sites of compression are at the wrist (carpal tunnel syndrome) and at the elbow (cubical tunnel syndrome). A hand surgeon can help figure out the cause in your particular case.
Dr. Mark Deitch
Dr. Mark Deitch
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