Tingling in Fingers and Toes

Here are the causes and treatment of this condition.
Dhanashree Patane Apr 29, 2019
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The peripheral nervous system consists of an interconnected wired network of nerves that carry signals between the brain and other parts of the body. The signals are in the form of electrical impulses. Any damage to the nerves causes pain, numbness, and weakness in specific parts of the body.
This damage is called peripheral neuropathy which may lead to a tingling sensation in those areas of the body where the damage has occurred. An injury to the fingers or toes can cause tingling in those regions. The sensation can be described as a pricking sensation, ants crawling, or a pins and needles sensation.
Reduced blood flow to the fingers or toes may cause tingling and numbness. Being in a posture that puts pressure on the toes or fingers, performing a certain action that stresses these body parts, or being in an awkward position for long can lead to tingling and numbness in the affected area.

Causes

Tingling Fingers

  • Numbness and tingling in the fingers can result from activities that stress them. Text messaging, typing, or using the computer keyboard and mouse for long are among the typical activities that can lead to numbness and tingling in the fingers.
  • Keeping the hands in the same position for a long time can lead to numb and tingly fingers.
  • Exposure to extreme cold due to a cold weather or due to actions such as holding a cold object for long can cause numbness in the fingers.
  • Handling heavy and vibrating machines like the power saw, roto tiller or jack hammer can also cause tingling.

Tingling Toes

  • Prolonged standing or being seated in the same position, nerve compression due to sitting in cramped conditions, or sitting with the legs crossed, results in putting pressure on the nerves in that region, leading to tingly feet and toes.
  • Wearing tight or improper footwear or wearing tight-fitting clothes, leads to restricted blood supply, thus resulting in tingling feet and toes.
  • A rigorous exercise workout that strains the feet may also lead to numbness and tingling.
Some of the other factors that cause tingling in the hands and feet are nerve and neck injuries, reduced blood supply to a particular area, and pressure on the spinal nerves. Poor blood circulation as a result of alcohol abuse, obesity, low physical activity, smoking, dehydration, radiation therapies, and seizures can cause tingling in the feet and hands.
Dietary deficiencies of vitamins like B1 (thiamine), B6 (pyridoxine), B3 (niacin), nicotinic acid deficiency, calcium, potassium or sodium, are some other causes of tingling hands and feet. Medications like amiodarone, disulfiram, and nitrofurantoin, and consuming alcohol and tobacco can also lead to feeling of numbness and tingling in the fingers and toes.
This condition is a symptom of certain other diseases like
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Fabry's disease
  • Acromegaly
  • Denny-Brown's syndrome
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
  • Amyloidosis
  • Buerger's disease
  • Olivopontocerebellar atrophy
  • Sjogren's syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Lyme disease
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Polyneuritis
  • Hypothyroidism
There are symptoms specific to each of these diseases. Numbness and tingling of the extremities may be an accompanying symptom only. So, it should not be considered as an indicator of any of these diseases before a proper diagnosis is done.

Treatment

  • In case of numb and tingling fingers, relax them. Stretch your fingers and arms. Wriggling them will also help. Shake your fingers after typing for long hours.
  • Maintain a proper sleeping position, to not put your hands or fingers to discomfort.
  • For tingling feet and toes, rest and relax them. Change your position if you have been holding it for long.
  • Stretch and massage your feet for better blood circulation.
  • Soaking the feet in warm water can help improve blood circulation.
  • Avoid high consumption of carbohydrates and sugar. Control your glucose intake if you are a diabetic. Maintain a healthy diet and get help from vitamin supplements if you have a vitamin deficiency.
These simple tips do help the tingling and numbness to subside. However, if you experience tingling very frequently or if you feel numbness for prolonged periods, it is best to consult a medical expert for the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Consult a doctor at once if it's accompanied by -
  • Tingling sensations after a neck, back or head injury
  • Loss of consciousness, even for a few moments
  • Inability to control arm or leg movement
  • Loss of control over urinary and bowel functions.
  • Distorted speech or complete physical weakness
  • A change in vision
  • Walking difficulty or paralysis.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only and is not meant to substitute the advice of a medical expert
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