T Nation

Numb Fingertip


So...for the past couple of weeks I have been experiencing intermittent numbness in the little finger of my left hand; it's like that feeling you get when something's "asleep". It is only that finger.

I looked on the Internet briefly and found that it could be a) the result of chemotherapy (not applicable) or b) possible nerve damage. I suppose there are many other possibilities.

Has anyone ever experienced this? What was it? Any of you medical types have any idea? I am going to the Dr. for a physical soon and want to bring this up in the context of being informed.



carpal tunnel did the same thing to me only it affected three to four fingers at a time.


You didnt mention youre age but a mild and unoticed stroke is also a possibility.My golfing buddy had a mild stroke about a year and half ago . The only symptom from it it was partial numbness in one hand


Yikes! I'm 39 (for 3 more weeks anyway :)). How did he find out it was a stroke?


I experienced numbness in the tip of my thumb. Turned out I had two ruptured discs in my neck that required surgery to fix. Definitely get this checked out. If it is a ruptured disc and you get it diagnosed early, they may be able to heal by themselves.

In my case, I ignored it for several months thinking it would go away and I ended up smashing the discs to the point where there was no way they could heal on their own. My wife said that when the surgeon was done, the first thing he told her was that I had quite a mess in there.


Are you sure he was referring to your neck? :wink:

Seriously, though. I get that numbness quite frequently. In particular, in the evening following deadlifts. I have tended to ascribe it to cramps from an undeveloped grip. I haven othing to back it up with, though...



When do you get this numbness?

Does it seem to be related to any position/posture/activity etc?

Is it only in the finger or does it affect the forearm/hand?

Does it go away on its own or do you do something to make it less noticeable?

Any recent changes in your daily activities, workout program, etc?

The little finger is innervated by the C8/ulnar nerve. It could be a problem either where the nerve exits from the vertebra or any one of a number of potential areas of impingement further downstream.

The fact that it comes and goes is a good sign, since a more severe problem usually would produce constant symptoms.

Take care,



Good point. Since he was a neurosurgeon, he may have gotten a peak at my brain and was frightened by what he saw.

I got my injury doing deadlifts with bad form. If you're getting numbness after DLing, it may suggest that you're putting stress on the C4, C5, and or C6 vetebra in your neck (I had ruptures between C4-C5 and C5-C6; these are now fused and I have a metal plate). I'm not a medical professional; all I did was do some Internet research in this when I was having trouble, so I'm just making some guesses. Whether or not you have neck pain isn't necessarily determinative. Some people experience mild to severe neck pain with this type of injury while others experience no pain at all. I had no neck pain.


Thanks, I'll watch for it.


Your symptoms could be as simple as tight muscles in the scapular/trap area which causes this sometimes in me. I find that vigorous massaging alleviates the problem.



Do you wear a ring on that finger? My father had the same issue, only his was much worse in that the muscles in his finger would cramp up out of the blue. Turns out that his wedding ring had partially severed the tendons in there and had damaged the nerves as well. That's why I always take off my ring when lifting.

It could also be muscle tightness in your traps/scapular region. Try massaging looking for sore/tight spots.
I would think if you had nerve impingement upstream that you would feel it in more than one finger because the nerves are bundled such that you should feel numbness in your ring and little finger at the same time.



Hey Dr. Ryan! As I said, it is intermittent, and so far has not been predictable or regular in timing. It is only in the little finger of the left hand. Occasionally it also seems to affect that edge of the palm (below the little finger), but to a much lesser degree. I have not changed my workouts or other activities, other than mixing up programs like I usually do. It does go away on its own, without me doing anything.

As far as posture, you know how you sit with your elbow on the desk and your hand in the air (and maybe leaning your head into your fist)? It may be, and I cannot yet verify this, that this position aggravates it.

DB, I don't wear any rings.

Thanks for the replies!


I wake up with a stiff upper back almost every morning, but it goes away as I get up and lift and otherwise move around. Maybe I need a masseuse. Any volunteers? :slight_smile:


Does it turn white too? My fingertips turn as white as a ghost, numb and cold all the time. They will be normal colored right up to the line at the tip and then freakishly white the rest of the way. They can stay that way for up to an hour before slowly regaining color and feeling. Lifting can bring it on, or if my core gets cold (although staying warm doesn't always fix it). When it first started happening a couple of years ago I was quite worried and had it thoroughly checked out by my doctor and chiropractor. They both figured it is a condition called Raynauds disease. It is a pain but apparently nothing to worry about.


No, no changes in color or anything like that. Sounds like Raynauds is a blood flow problem? Do you know why you all of a sudden started experiencing it?


They aren't really sure what causes it, just that it is more common in young women (who I think tend to have worse circulation than others) and northern climates. I sort of figured that wasn't your problem since you live in Florida. Where I live it will drop down to -40 for several weeks a year.


I had this same numbness in my little finger. At the same time, I was experiencing other wierd symptoms on the one side of my body. Turns out my neck was agravated by arching up on it when bench-pressing. My form got a little sloppy.....
I took a month off from lifting (this was tough) and the numbness went away. I didn't figure out the neck problem myself, I'm not that medically inclined. A nuerologist diagnosed it for me and recommended the time off and a change in my lifting technique. I should have known better than to arch like I was.


Wow! I grew up in the Northwest US and I never really "got used to" the winters. I like it much better here, hurricanes and all :slightly_smiling:


I had the same symptoms 2 years ago. Come to find out I had an AVM in my brain, which is a malformed vein were blood can pool. It eventually burst causing a minor stroke, the side effects were minimal just minor lip numbness and in the thumb and palm. These AVM's usually don't present a danger, but you should definetly have theat possiblilty checked out.


About five years ago I had exactly that happen to me too only my litle finger stayed numb for a couple of months. Then it cleared up and the numbness left. Then came back again a couple years latter for a month or so. Then cleared up again. Haven't had a numb finger for couple years now. Don't know what it was.

I looked it up on the interent and at the time I was convinced it was probably some syndrome where the tendons near you elbow thicken and the nerve that runs through your funny bone gets squashed leading to numbness in little finger. Its a possibility in your case too but could be sometihng else too not really a medical expert here perhaps you should see a doc to get it checked out.