Pins and Needles in Fingers

Most of us are familiar with the feeling of pins and needles. The tingling, pricking sensation is a common one that almost all of us have experienced at some point in our lives. Although the feeling of pins and needles can be experienced anywhere on the surface of the skin, a common place for its presence is in the fingers. Pins and needles is referred to as ‘paresthesia’ by medical professionals. However, this is really just a fancy name for ‘loss of sensation’.

What are the symptoms of pins and needles in the fingers?

Paresthesia felt in either the fingers on the right hand, the fingers on the left hand, or occasionally in the fingers in both hands, are rarely accompanied by any symptoms other than the feeling itself which can be described as:

  • A tingling or prickling sensation in the fingers or the finger tips
  • A burning sensation
  • In some cases the fingers or the entire hand may go numb, often described as them ‘falling asleep’

What causes pins and needles in fingers?

  • An injury to the hand or arm
  • A viral infection
  • Thyroid problems
  • Demyelinating diseases
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Vitamin deficiencies

The most common cause of pins and needles experienced in this part of the body is a reduction in blood supply to the nerves caused by unintentional pressure to either the arm or the fingers themselves.

What do you do if you start getting pins and needles on a regular basis?

If pins and needles in the fingers is bothering you there are a few steps you can take to ease your discomfort:

  1. Firstly it is important that you rule out a more serious underlying cause for your paresthesia. Whilst the presence of this is unlikely, it is best to get checked out by a doctor or nurse to make sure
  2. Don’t let your hands get too cold as this will reduce the blood supply to the nerves and trigger the sensation. Make sure you wear gloves if going outside in colder temperatures.
  3. When pins and needles does strike, help get rid of the feeling by moving your fingers briskly. A good way of doing this is the clench the hand into fist and unclench it several times
  4. Adjust your sleeping position; lying on your hands or arm can cause pins and needles
  5. Make sure you have a healthy diet to prevent vitamin deficiencies

To summarise, it is important to remember that almost everyone will experience the tingling sensation of pins and needles at some point. There are many possible causes and if you are worried, or if the pins and needles in your fingers last for more than a few minutes, or are accompanied by a loss of function or pain, you should consult your doctor who will run further tests and offer advice. Once a serious cause has been ruled out there are steps you can take to prevent the sensation from returning such as avoiding extreme temperatures, keeping the fingers moving and  ensuring you have a healthy diet.