Most everyone experiences numbness, pins and needles, and tingling in the fingers, hands, and thumbs at various points in their lives. This is mostly due to benign influences like temperature changes, temporary pressure or irritation of a nerve or even stress. When symptoms persist, however, a Houston hand specialist should be consulted to ferret out which of many possible causes is creating these sensations.


Which symptoms and which part of the hands or fingers are affected often help guide a diagnosis. For example, a pinched medial nerve (carpal tunnel syndrome) typically affects the thumb, forefinger, middle finger, and the adjacent half of the ring finger. Diabetic neuropathy is characterized by a burning or painful sensation as well as numbness and tingling. Many times the symptoms wind up being easily treatable or temporary and benign, but early diagnosis and treatment is wise to stave off potential aggravation of the condition.

Common causes of hand numbness and tingling include the following:

  • Nerve entrapment syndromes (e.g. carpal tunnel, ulnar nerve palsy, radial nerve palsy, etc. where nerves are chronically constricted)
  • Acute pinched nerve in the wrist, hand, or forearm
  • Arthritis

Other causes include the following:

  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Radiculopathy or other pinched nerve distal to the hand
  • Vitamin imbalances

The hand specialists at HSST will evaluate your symptoms and health history, and will ask you questions about your lifestyle and injuries you may have incurred to lead to a diagnosis and/or referral to another kind of specialist. If we find that the cause of your symptoms are within the hand, wrist, thumb, or forearm, we will recommend treatment. This may involve a combination of heat or cold therapy, exercise and physical therapy, and rest to relieve a pinched nerve or treat arthritis.

Entrapped nerves, such as with carpal tunnel, often must be relieved through a "release procedure" in which a ligament is partially or totally severed to create passage space for the nerve. Our surgeons have perfected the arthroscopic No-Stitch release for carpal tunnel syndrome and other nerve entrapment conditions. This is a minimally invasive procedure that results in little or no scarring. Patients resume normal activity within about three weeks.