Wednesday, February 4, 2009

So...My fingers are numb, should I call the doctor?

You’ve developed a strange little numbness and tingling in the fingers of your left hand. It doesn’t really hurt, but it’s just.... odd. Maybe the tingling goes away on its own and you don’t think about it again. Or maybe it sticks around and even starts to slowly grow so that now your forearm is numb, too.

Do you call the doctor? For some tingling fingers....

There are many possible causes of numb fingers. Let’s assume that you didn’t just break your fingers; because if you had, you’d be in the emergency room seeking medical attention.

The numbness could be caused by (but less frequently) by frostbite, leprosy, or rare genetic disorders, such as Haim-Munk syndrome or hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies.

Do you have diabetes? Pernicious anemia? Hypothyroidism? Peripheral vascular disease? Lupus? Raynaud’s syndrome? Guillaine-Barre syndrome? Cervical spondylosis (aka osteoarthritis)? Carpal tunnel syndrome? Or a pinched nerve?

Maybe you do have a demyelinating disease such as multiple sclerosis (MS) which affects the central nervous system or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) which affects the peripheral nervous system.

Read this post in its entirety:

Beginner's Guide to MS: My fingers are numb, should I call the doctor?


  1. LOL this made me remember my own diagnoses. Not that it's anything to laugh about but ya know.. what can you do.

    Noticed the tip of my left thumb was numb driving to work one morning, it spread, walked into Dr next morning at 7:00, MRI at 5:00 with Dr there - diagnosed by 7:00.

    I think I have the worlds only less-than-48-hour-diagnoses.

  2. The joint in my middle finger has been swollen and arthritic for a week. Should I call my doctor.

    Why bother, he'll suggest ibuprofin.

  3. Wow Melissa, that's a fast diagnosis based on a numb thumb!! Mine was definitely not so quick, nor so clear-cut.

  4. Nadja,

    I would keep a close eye on that finger. The 2nd joint on my middle finger became grossly swollen (but not hot) during the time my neuro believed I had carpal tunnel syndrome which ended up being rheumatoid arthritis.

    Early on with arthritis, the suggested treatment for me would Aleve, but at a double dose (two pills per day). If that helps to take down the swelling, good. If not, well.....

    Not matter what, there's no reason why NOT to have some bloodwork done. Keep in mind that not everybody with RA has an elevated Rheumatoid Factor (I didn't at first).

    Certainly, bloodwork should include at least a Complete Blood Count (with platelets), Chem Panel, ESR (Sed rate), RF, ANA, maybe C-reactive protein, vitamin B12 and maybe vitamin D. If you'd like, I could try to find an example of the initial bloodwork my rheumatologist wanted to see.

    But first, try the Aleve as it works differently than Ibuprofen.

  5. I prefer to wait until my DOCTOR is numb and tingling before I call her...but that's just me. LOL

    Linda D. in Seattle

  6. I don't call my neuro for anything. His only answer ever is "I don't know". What a waste.

  7. Thanks for the laugh Linda D. in Seattle...I feel that way some times.