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caroline asked...

Pins and needles in my finger

Hi, for a couple of weeks now I have been experiencing pins and needles and numbness in my left little finger (I'm right handed) all day and night. It's not painful and my little finger still works. I work in an office 5 days a week so type a lot but it's only in my left little finger and the left hand side of my hand that is numb leading to the bottom on the arm. Any ideas on what you think it is? At first I thought I may have slept on it funny but I have had this sensation constantly now for approx 2 weeks. Thank you

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The answer

The symptoms you describe sound like you possibly are suffering from a condition known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is where a nerve- usually the median nerve but, can be the ulnar nerve, get compressed usually at the wrist or elbow.

CTS is particularly common if there is a family history of CTS, in pregnancy, due to injuries to the wrist, health conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis or where you are in a job where there is repetitive work of the hand.

It sounds like that you might have CTS due to the repetitive nature of working at the desk typing. Signs of CTS are pins and needles of the fingers, numbness and a dull ache in the hand or arm. Depending on which nerve is constricted will depend on where you feel the pins and needles.

The median nerve usually affects the thumb and forefingers and the ulnar nerve your ring and little finger. We would recommend that you arrange an appointment with your GP for an assessment and possible referral for treatment.

CTS can often disappear without treatment but sometimes self-care methods can help too. Self care methods include ensuring that you are working in an ergonomic position and using wrist splints to stop you bending your wrist whilst typing, lifting etc.

If this does not help then further investigations such as an MRI scan or Nerve Conduction Tests may be required to pinpoint actual cause for symptoms.

Physiotherapy may be required to help exercise the joints and reduce muscle tension. Corticosteroid Injections may be considered if you have pain as these can also help reduce inflammation and swelling. Surgery is always the last result and will be considered if other treatments have failed and movement and dexterity are affected.

We hope this information will help but I emphasise that it would be wise to see your GP for a full assessment so that other possible causes for the tingling and numbness can be ruled out.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses  

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