Hand Numbness and Tingling
What Causes Hand Numbness and Tingling?
Nearly everyone has experienced 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 determine the cause and determine if there is a treatment to relieve symptoms. Carpal tunnel is often considered the most likely culprit, but that’s certainly not always the case.
One of the most common causes of hand numbness and tingling is as a symptom of nerve entrapment syndromes, where nerves are chronically constricted. This can come in the form of carpal tunnel, ulnar nerve palsy, or radial nerve palsy, for example. An acute pinched nerve in the wrist, hand, or forearm is another common cause, as is arthritis.
Other causes: peripheral artery disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetic neuropathy, radiculopathy or other pinched nerve distal to the hand, or vitamin imbalances.
Sign & Symptoms
The location of the tingling and/or numbness will 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.
Diagnosis & Treatment
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.
Treatment 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. It is a same-day procedure that takes just 10 minutes and doesn’t require stitches.
If we opt for the “No Stitch” release, this is a minimally invasive procedure that results in little or no scarring, no stitches are required, and patients resume normal activity within about three weeks.