Numb fingers can be caused by inflammation of the nerves or an initial condition in which the nerves become pinched, such as:
- Arthrosis in the cervical vertebra area (cervical spondylosis)
- Spinal disc herniation
- Traumatic neck injuries, such as whiplash
- Nerve compression syndromes, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
If the tingling sensation is noticeable in both the little finger and the ring finger, this could indicate compression of the elbow nerve (ulnar nerve) in the elbow or shoulder area, rarely the disorder occurs in the wrist. A tingling sensation in the thumb, index finger, middle finger and inner area of the ring finger can be caused by inflammation of the median nerve or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Tingling in the ring finger and little finger
Ulnar groove syndrome or compression of the elbow nerve
Ulnar groove syndrome or cubital tunnel syndrome is a pressure damage to the elbow nerve (ulnar nerve). The elbow nerve has a very important function because it transmits the signals into the inside of the forearm to the fingertips of the ring finger and little finger.
It springs from the neck and pulls itself into the hand, on its course it can encounter various bottlenecks.
Depending on where the nerve is compressed, numbness or pain may occur in the elbow, hand, wrist and last two fingers.
The ulnar nerve can be compressed at wrist level, under the collarbone, or when exiting the cervical spinal cord, but most often this happens inside the elbow.
In this case, one speaks of a “cubital tunnel or ulnar channel syndrome”.
The exact cause of cubital tunnel syndrome is not known in many cases.
The nerve is particularly susceptible to pressure injuries in the elbow area because it has to cross a narrow place where there is little protective soft tissue.
If the collateral ligament of the elbow ruptures as a result of a traumatic injury, a scar may form, pressing on the nerve and provoking the symptoms.
The symptoms develop gradually.
Ulnar channel syndrome causes weakness and increasing numbness, especially on the side of the little finger.
How pronounced weakness and numbness are depends on where the nerve is pinched.
Pain does not necessarily have to occur.
As the syndrome progresses, simple hand movements become problematic, such as opening a can, grabbing objects and coordinating the fingers for writing or making music.
Typical symptoms of elnicholas neuropathy:
- weakness or numbness in the hand;
- tingling in the palm, little finger and ring finger;
- sensitivity to cold;
- stiffness in the elbow joint;
- With severe nerve inflammation, permanent and severe pain may occur, even at night.
The diagnosis of elbow nerve compression is made by an expert who decides whether it is a primary symptom or whether it occurs as a side effect of a more complex condition, such as diabetes (diabetic neuropathy).
Diagnosis includes a complete clinical examination and diagnostic procedures.
The doctor will ask the patient to perform certain movements with the hand to determine if there is compression of the elbow nerve.
After palpating the painful region to find out exactly where the pain originates, the tendon reflexes are tested and the mobility of the affected joints is evaluated.
Among the imaging techniques, magnetic resonance imaging is particularly useful to indicate whether anatomical structures are pressing on the ulnar nerve.
The functioning of the nerve is evaluated with the help of electromyography; for the examination of nerve conduction, electrodes are attached to the body and the nervous response to the stimuli is measured.
Nonsurgical or conservative treatment of elbow nerve compression depends on how much the nerve is pinched.
Physical therapy is used to strengthen
the ligaments and tendons of the hand and elbows Anti-inflammatory drugs from the group of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and other over-the-counter painkillers help relieve pain and inflammation.
Splinting can help immobilize the elbow.
The doctor may advise surgery to treat neuropathy of the elbow nerve.
Surgical intervention to relieve pressure on the elbow nerve is the best treatment method if the symptoms increase or the symptoms are perceived as severely limiting and unbearable.
For surgery for cubital tunnel syndrome, the following prerequisites should exist:
- The doctor believes that the operation provides relief to the patient.
- The diagnosis is correct.
- The surgical intervention is performed by an experienced surgeon.
It is important to know that in many patients, the symptoms are still present even after the procedure.
The recovery times depend on how long the symptoms have already existed.
If the procedure is performed shortly after the onset of symptoms (after about 1 to 2 months), healing takes place in a few days.
However, if you wait too long until an operative pressure relief of the nerve is made, the symptoms may disappear only after many months or pain and tingling remain permanently, because irreparable damage has occurred.
Tingling in the thumb, index and middle fingers
The carpal tunnel is a tunnel-like, narrow tube through which the nerves pass, which extend from the forearm to the palm and fingers.
When the tendons bordering the tunnel become inflamed, they also press and irritate the median nerve.
The disorder can be caused by repetitive activities, such as writing for a long time on the keyboard, operating a supermarket checkout every day, or handling a trowel.
Normally, the dominant hand is affected, i.e. the right hand in right-handers, the left hand in left-handers.
Symptoms occur in three fingers: thumb, index finger and middle finger.
The patient feels pain in the fingers, nocturnal numbness in the hand, weakness and – in the advanced stage – loss of sensitivity.
The tingling sensation may occur early in the morning at 4 a.m. or when waking up.
These symptoms do not necessarily have to occur at the same time.
h for carpal tunnel syndrome, however, is a marked worsening of symptoms over time.
Treatment can be conservative or surgical.
Before considering carpal tunnel syndrome surgery, manual or physical physiotherapy can be used to try to eliminate the causes of nerve compression.
Cortisone infiltrations can fight the inflammation of the carpal tunnel and help relieve symptoms.
The surgical intervention consists in the complete transection of the carpal ligament (retinaculum flexorum), which borders the carpal tunnel; in this way, the tunnel is widened and the median nerve is relieved.
Causes of tingling in all fingers
Pain that emanates from the cervical spine and radiates into the arm can be provoked by a herniated disc, when the material leaking from the disc presses or compresses a nerve.
If this happens in the lumbar spine, lumboischialgia develops and the tingling sensation is noticeable in the toes.
The neck pain arises in the area of the prolapsed intervertebral disc and radiates into the hand.
The pain in the arm is felt in the course of the affected nerve.
Patients report a sharp pain or burning.
There may also be numbness or tingling in the fingers.
In certain activities, a feeling of weakness may be noticeable.
Symptoms may increase with certain movements, such as stretching or turning your head.
The numbness may occur when riding a bike due to the neck and hand position.
When lifting the arm above the head, the pain subsides because the pressure exerted on the nerve is reduced.
Treatment and medications Medications
for the treatment of cervicobrachialgia:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (eg aspirin and ibuprofen).
Orally administered cortisone-containing agents – a short course of treatment can relieve swelling and pain.
The McKenzie method and spinal manipulations are the most suitable forms of manual therapy for herniated discs or protrusion in the cervical spine.
Physical therapies are less effective for radiating pain.
If the pain cannot be reduced with conservative treatment methods even after months, surgery can be considered.
Other neurological causes of finger tingling
Pain and tingling in the finger can also be provoked by other diseases that affect or damage the nervous system; These include:
- diabetic neuropathy (damage to the nerves caused by elevated blood sugar levels);
- poisoning by heavy metals, such as lead;
- multiple sclerosis (disease that affects the brain and spinal cord and causes weakness, lack of coordination, balance problems, etc.);
- Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Finger tingling due to circulatory disorders
The discomfort on the finger can also occur in connection with other diseases, such as:
- Buerger’s disease (acute inflammation and blood clotting in arteries and veins);
- circulatory disorders (decreased blood flow);
- frostbite or extremely low temperatures;
- Raynaud’s phenomenon is characterized by spasms of the smaller blood vessels in fingers and toes and associated circulatory disorders. Raynaud’s phenomenon occurs as a concomitant of various autoimmune diseases, such as lupus.
Other conditions that cause tingling in the fingers
- Tingling or pain in fingers and hands (especially in the left hand) may indicate a heart attack.
- Pregnancy can cause redness, itching, swelling, numbness or tingling, which usually disappears after birth.
- Infection, for example, a bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus.
- Anxiety and stress can also cause tingling in the fingers, mouth and lips.
- A panaritium is an acute inflammation of the finger end that occurs under the skin and is caused by bacteria (staphylococci or streptococci).