Maybe I've been pointing too much
July 7, 2014 3:54 PM   Subscribe

YANAD (or maybe you are), but yesterday morning I woke up with the tip of my right index finger feeling numb. It was localised just to this area and appears to have normal bloodflow (i.e. it's not pale or white, so isn't just a digit feeling a bit cold). Fast forward 24 hours and it is still numb, albeit today it is a bit tingly/pins and needles in the area when using that finger. It causes no pain and is more so just annoying as I am right handed and work on a computer all day, so after a day and a half it's a bit irritating. What's going on?

It may be as simple as a pinched nerve caused by an odd sleeping position (somehow), as I have done no other activity that may have triggered this sensation, but the numbness is just on the top of the finger and doesn't extend down past the nailbed. I understand this is a bit of a specific thing to be asking the internet, but thanks in advance for any thoughts/suggestions!
posted by sunshine arakhan to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
How's your blood sugar? Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to peripheral neuropathy (numb/tingly extremities, particularly feet and hands).

What do you do for a living? Repetitive stress injuries and carpal-tunnel like things can give you numb or tingly digits.

If it is really worrying you, Doctor Askme will probably be about as useful as Doctor Google. (IANAD, IANYD, GSYD!) :)
posted by kythuen at 4:05 PM on July 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well of course hie thee to the doctor. I have Raynaud's which can be highly localized, intermittent, has somewhat similar symptoms and is peripheral so it could be that. It could not be that.

I can tell by your question that you have tried to self-diagnose. The problem is that there are very different treatments for different conditions that present similar symptoms. It's important you know what you are dealing with.

Me yelling here; go to the damn doctor. Please.
posted by vapidave at 4:32 PM on July 7, 2014

My rule of thumb (or tip of finger, har har) is that unless it is imminently life threatening, I wait 48 hours before doing anything or worrying about a new weird body issue. The older I get, the more ~24 hour self-limiting spells of weirdness I experience... that's the human condition. Were I you, I would wait until tomorrow and then give your doctor a call if it's still an issue.
posted by telegraph at 4:47 PM on July 7, 2014 [8 favorites]

Have you been writing [with a pen/pencil] a lot lately? I'm in bar prep so I've made approximately 4.35 million flashcards. It's more writing [with a pen] than I've years. Finger-pad calluses and numb spots abound.
posted by atomicstone at 4:49 PM on July 7, 2014

My finger felt like that after I was stung there by a scorpion. Any chance of that?
posted by tamitang at 5:30 PM on July 7, 2014

Other answers seem more feasible to me, but on one occasion I bit my finger in the course of some stupid dream. It wasn't just numb though; it swelled up.
posted by XMLicious at 5:37 PM on July 7, 2014

Might be an early symptom of carpal tunnel.
posted by kbar1 at 6:07 PM on July 7, 2014

Sure, numbness in fingers can be a sign of pinched nerve, carpal tunnel, peripheral neuropathy, etc...but it would be kind of odd for that to be localized to just the tip of one finger as far as I know (which is not a doctor level of knowing, but semi-informed for other reasons). If this persists, you would definitely want to consult an actual doctor and get those possibilities checked out.

But since you mentioned that you use a computer all day--how often do you use a mouse or something involving just one or two fingers, and is this one of those fingers? I get a similar thing in my "mouse" finger when I go through a period of particularly heavy mouse usage.
posted by freejinn at 6:54 PM on July 7, 2014

I've had pinched nerves in my neck that caused one finger to go numb and then the rest gradually following, although in my case it started with the pinky first.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:37 PM on July 7, 2014

I had a similar thing for a while (but on the knuckle of my index finger), until I realized that I was holding my index finger down with my thumb while I slept (who knows why). Maybe you've been pushing the tip of your finger against something while you're sleeping?
posted by iamkimiam at 1:41 AM on July 8, 2014

Do you use a smartphone or tablet a lot, where you'd be pressing down with the part of your finger that is now numb?
posted by chickenmagazine at 6:11 AM on July 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Do you get migraines? I've had a couple where before the terrible headache part I've had a weird tingling/numbness in my finger tips and tip of my nose. It definitely freaked me out the first time it happened, but it's common enough and called a somatosensory aura.
posted by twoporedomain at 12:36 PM on July 8, 2014

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