Q:

How do doctors determine the cause of numbness in your fingers?

A:

Quick Answer

To determine the cause of finger numbness, doctors typically ask the patient about symptoms such as accompanying sensations and the location, origin and duration of the numbness, according to Healthgrades. Tests including electromyography, nerve biopsy and imaging studies may be necessary to perform a full diagnosis, notes Healthline

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How do doctors determine the cause of numbness in your fingers?
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Full Answer

Finger numbness may be due to a neurological, circulatory or orthopedic issue, Healthgrades explains. A neurological cause involves damage to nerves and may arise from conditions including multiple sclerosis, peripheral or diabetic neuropathy, spinal cord injury, hypothyroidism, transverse myelitis and alcoholism. Circulatory causes involve reduced blood flow to the finger and may occur due to exposure to severe cold, peripheral artery disease or Raynaud’s disease. An orthopedic cause involves damage to the musculoskeletal system and may arise from carpal tunnel syndrome, a herniated disk, nerve compression or a neck injury. Temporary numbness is caused by persistent pressure on one or more nerves. This type of pressure may be the result of weight placed on the arm during sleep or repeating specific motions.

Finger numbness is rarely a symptom of a severe condition, but some of the conditions that cause finger numbness may also significantly and permanently damage nerves, Healthgrades warns. In such cases, the underlying condition itself requires treatment. If numbness has developed due to lifestyle factors such as repeatedly performing certain motions, changing habits may be enough to eliminate numbness.

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