Finger numbness can be caused by many things, from pinched nerves to diabetes. Finger numbness can also be a sign of more severe conditions, such as stroke.

Finger numbness is a partial or total loss of sensation in your fingers. It’s relatively common. For example, your hand may “fall asleep” because you put pressure on a nerve without realizing it. This feeling will usually go away once you change positions.

That said, finger numbness that doesn’t go away or gradually worsens may be a sign of an underlying health condition that could require medical treatment.

The nerves in your body are responsible for transmitting messages to and from your brain. Numbness may occur if these nerves are compressed, damaged, or irritated.

The following conditions may cause finger numbness.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome typically causes symptoms like:

  • numbness in the thumb, index, and middle fingers
  • tingling
  • burning
  • pain

It happens when the median nerve in your arm becomes pinched or obstructed at the wrist or by repetitive motions like using hand tools or typing on a keyboard. Symptoms are often worse at night.

Cervical radiculopathy

Cervical radiculopathy, also known as a pinched nerve, is when a nerve at the top of your spine in your neck becomes compressed. This may cause numbness, tingling, and clumsiness that radiates down to your hands.

The two most common causes for a pinched nerve in your neck include bone degeneration as you age and a herniated disc.


A condition called diabetic neuropathy may lead to nerve damage in the feet and hands. Up to 50% of people with diabetes may develop this condition.

Numbness, pain, or weakness is usually noticed first in the feet and legs but can also affect the hands and arms.

Raynaud’s phenomenon

Raynaud’s phenomenon causes numbness when the small arteries in your fingers spasm or become narrower. This affects your circulation and decreases oxygen to the nerves in the hands.

This condition may be caused by cold temperatures and emotional distress. Fingers that are affected may look pale or bluish during an episode. This may last between a few minutes to several hours.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that causes swelling, tenderness, and pain in the joints. This condition can also lead to tingling, numbness, and burning in the hands. Usually, both sides of the body are affected.

Ulnar nerve entrapment

Ulnar nerve entrapment affects the ulnar nerve that runs down the little finger’s side of the arm. The nerve usually gets compressed at the elbow, causing numbness to radiate down to your pinky and ring fingers. This condition is known as cubital tunnel syndrome.

You might notice an aching pain on the inside of your elbow.


Some infections may cause finger numbness, such as:

Conditions that affect blood vessels or nerves

Some conditions that affect your blood vessels or nerves may cause finger numbness. These may include:

Other causes

Some other medical conditions may cause finger numbness by affecting blood circulation or your nerves. These may include:

Sometimes tingling and numbness can be symptoms of a medical emergency. This is true when a person is experiencing a stroke, which is when a blood clot or bleeding affects the brain.

If you or someone around you know experiences any of the following symptoms, get medical help immediately.

It’s also important to speak with a doctor if your finger numbness occurs regularly, interferes with your daily activities, or is accompanied by visible changes to your hand or arm.

F.A.S.T method

The American Stroke Association suggests using the F.A.S.T. method to recognize a stroke:

  • (F) Face: Ask the person to smile. Is their face drooping on one side?
  • (A) Arm weakness: Ask them to raise their arms. Is one arm falling or weaker?
  • (S) Speech: Are they slurring when they speak?
  • (T) Time: Call 911 or your nearest emergency helpline immediately.
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A doctor will start to diagnose your finger numbness by taking your medical history and examining your arm, hand, and finger. They may also recommend you see a medical specialist, such as an orthopedic doctor or neurologist.

If more information is needed to determine why you have finger numbness, the doctor might order additional tests. These may include:

  • electrodiagnostic test to assess nerve function
  • X-ray to see areas where bones in the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, or finger may have slipped out of place
  • MRI or ultrasound to see whether a nerve is being pinched
  • blood tests to assess for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or vitamin B12 deficiency

Treatment for finger numbness will depend on several factors, such as the underlying cause and the severity of symptoms.

Some treatment options may include:

If none of these treatments work, a doctor may recommend surgical treatments. These can be used to remove or repair damaged nerves or to stop bones from pressing on the nerve. These procedures include:

  • cubital tunnel release
  • ulnar nerve anterior transposition
  • medial epicondylectomy

Overuse injuries may lead to some types of finger numbness. This occurs when you engage in repetitive motions that can irritate or damage the nerves.

Ways to avoid repetitive motion injuries include:

  • practicing good posture and form when using a tool, keyboard, or other device
  • taking a break from your activity every 30 to 60 minutes
  • stretching the muscles you’re using to reduce tension
  • using ergonomic or assistant devices, such as a wrist brace or wrist rest for a keyboard

Your outlook will depend on several factors, such as:

  • the underlying cause of your finger numbness
  • your age and health condition
  • the time of diagnosis
  • your treatment plan

Finger numbness is often treatable. If your current treatment plan isn’t working, speak with a doctor. They can recommend more specific medical treatments depending on the underlying cause of the numbness.

Usually, the earlier you treat your finger numbness, the less likely the symptoms will be permanent. It’s important not to ignore your symptoms.

When should I worry about finger numbness?

If your finger numbness occurs in these circumstances or with these symptoms, seek medical care:

  • sudden onset of numbness (minutes or hours)
  • sudden weakness with numbness
  • loss of sensation in the face and body

How do I get rid of numbness in my fingers?

Some treatment methods for finger numbness may include OTC NSAIDs and pain relievers, wearing a splint or brace, resting, or performing hand exercises.

Can heart problems cause numbness in the fingertips?

Numbness in your fingertips and hands may indicate an underlying heart or vascular condition, such as heart attack, stroke, or vasculitis.

Finger numbness is a sensation that often goes away on its own without medical treatment. However, sometimes it may be a sign of an underlying health condition.

If your finger numbness doesn’t go away with at-home remedies, speak with a healthcare professional. They could run some tests to diagnose the cause and develop a proper treatment plan for you.