A tingling sensation in the fingers, hands, or feet is extremely common in people of all ages and for various reasons. It happens most frequently when we put too much pressure for too long on a certain part of the body, and it “falls asleep” due to nerve compression – but this sensation goes away fairly quickly once you start moving around again.
Even though a tingling sensation is a common occurrence, it can still be bothersome and distracting. Let’s talk about some of the main reasons why people can get tingling sensations in the fingers that do not go away quickly.
What Causes Tingling Fingers?
Tingling in the hands and feet can be a result of pressure put on your nerves when you sleep or when you cross your legs. This is usually described as having “pins and needles” and is technically called paresthesia.
This temporary tingling feeling is often attributed to a lack of circulation, but it is actually due to nerve compression. These tingling sensations subside once the pressure on the nerve is released.
For some people, the symptom of tingling fingers and numbness in various areas of the body is due to larger causes, such as the following:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
One of the most common causes of tingling fingers is carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs when the median nerve is compressed in the wrist area. The first fingers to be affected by carpal tunnel are usually the thumb and index finger; the pinky is never affected in carpal tunnel.
Symptoms include pain, numbness, and tingling in the fingers, hand, and arm. The pain from carpal tunnel is described as a deep or burning ache. Fingers might also feel weak and clumsy, and there may be difficulty in grasping and holding things.
Another cause of tingling fingers can be a pinched nerve, which occurs when the tissue surrounding a nerve is applying too much pressure against the nerve. The stress disrupts the nerve functions, causing pain, weakness, numbness, and/or tingling.
Several things can cause a pinched nerve, such as obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and injury. If the tingling or numbness doesn’t go away after a couple of days, it’s a good idea to see an orthopedist for an evaluation.
MS is a disease affecting the brain and spinal cord, which together comprise the central nervous system. Symptoms can include numbness and weakness of the limbs, which typically affects one side of the body at a time – often beginning with numbness or tingling in the fingers.
This condition occurs when the immune system’s T-cells mistakenly attack the protective fatty layer of myelin that covers the brain and spinal cord. An area where the T-cells attack is called a scar, or sclerosis, and the body usually replenishes the area with new myelin.
Once the myelin is repaired, the person’s disability and tingling sensations subside. Researchers are studying why some people with MS are able to recover fully but others do not.
Whereas the brain and spinal cord together form the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system comprises the rest of the nerves throughout the body – and peripheral neuropathy happens when there is damage to the peripheral nerves. This can cause tingling in the fingers, arms, legs, and feet.
In this condition, a person might experience a gradual onset of numbness. There can also be sharp, jabbing, throbbing, freezing, and burning pain, sensitivity to touch, and muscle weakness.
This condition tends to occur due to injury, infection, toxic exposure, or even diabetes.
This disorder is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain with fatigue, memory, mood, and sleep issues. It can cause numbness or tingling in the fingers and in other areas.
There is widespread pain described as a constant dull ache that can last for months. Patients with fibromyalgia can also experience cognitive difficulties, affecting their ability to focus on mental tasks.
Orthopedic Surgeons in Maryland
Our team at Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland provides treatments to relieve the pain you’re feeling – from tingling fingers to sprained ankles to shoulder pain and beyond.