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What causes hand numbness? 33 possible conditions


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.


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.

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See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.


Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy occurs when nerves malfunction because they're damaged or destroyed. You'll notice a tingling, numbness, or weakness, and possibly sweating, constipation, or diarrhea.

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Beriberi is a term used for vitamin B1, or thiamine, deficiency. Vitamin B1 is found in foods like milk, beans, vegetables, meat, and whole grains.

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Mononeuropathy is a pathological effect of a single large nerve. It can be caused by injury, nutritional deficiency, or autoimmune condition. Common symptoms are numbness, tingling, or burning.

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Necrotizing Vasculitis

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Necrotizing vasculitis is the inflammation of blood vessel walls. It can interrupt blood flow, causing skin, muscle, and blood vessel damage, and death of tissues and organs. Its symptoms can affect the entire body.

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Carpal Tunnel

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the compression of the median nerve as it passes into the hand. The median nerve is located on the palm side of your hand.

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Vertebrobasilar Circulatory Disorders

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Vertebrobasilar circulatory disorders are a group of diseases in which not enough blood is supplied to the back of the brain. Symptoms depend on the cause, but may include vision and sleep problems, dizziness, and more.

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Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of types 1 and 2 diabetes due to uncontrolled high blood sugar levels that result in damage to the nerves. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), between 6...

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Hypoparathyroidism occurs when the parathyroid glands in the neck don't produce enough hormone (PTH). Too little PTH causes low calcium and high phosphorus levels in the body. Many of its symptoms concern low calciu...

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Leprosy is a chronic, progressive bacterial infection that primarily affects the nerves of the extremities, lining of the nose, and upper respiratory tract. It can cause numbness or dulled sensation.

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Multiple Sclerosis Overview

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. MS can cause varying symptoms that appear with a wide range of severity, from mild discomfort to complete disability.

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Osteomalacia is a weakening of the bones due to problems with bone formation or the bone building process. It is not the same as osteoporosis, which is a weakening of living bone that has already been formed and i...

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Porphyrias are rare types of genetic blood disorders in which patients have a defect in heme production, an important part of hemoglobin. Blisters are a sign of porphyria cutanea tarda, the most common type of porphyria.

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Stroke Overview

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

A stroke (a "brain attack") is a medical emergency in which part of the brain is deprived of oxygen. This occurs when an artery that supplies oxygenated blood to the brain becomes damaged and brain cells begin to die.

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Thoracic Outlet Syndromes

The narrow space between your collarbone and first rib contains blood vessels, nerves, and muscles that extend from the back to the arms. Pressure on these blood vessels and nerves may result in pain in your shoulders.

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Radiculopathy refers to disease of the spinal nerve roots. Radiculopathy produces pain , numbness, or weakness radiating from the spine.

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Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal column narrows, gradually compressing the spinal cord. If the narrowing is minimal, symptoms won't occur. Too much narrowing can compress the nerves and cause problems.

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Whiplash occurs when a person's head moves backward and then forward very suddenly with great force. This injury is most common following a car collision.

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Migraine with Aura

Migraine is a disorder characterized by repeated attacks of severe headache. Symptoms include throbbing or pulsating pain, usually on only one side of the head, and can last between four hours and three days.

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Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral vascular disease is a circulation disorder caused by plaque build-up in peripheral arteries. It typically affects the arteries that supply blood to the arms, legs, and organs located below the stomach.

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Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis, also known as cervical osteoarthritis or neck arthritis, is an age-related condition that affects the joints and discs in your neck.

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.