What causes numbness in my thumb

Tingling in the fingertips

Tingling or numbness in the fingers can indicate carpal tunnel syndrome. The Professional Association of German Neurologists (BDN) explains what this is all about and how the cause is clearly clarified.

Carpal tunnel syndrome (KTS) is caused by compression of the median nerve on the wrist. “Numbness and tingling often start at the tips of the first three fingers of a hand - that is, the thumb, index and middle finger. Over time, there is also slight pain, which occurs especially at night or after intensive manual labor. Those affected then tend instinctively to try to resolve the symptoms by shaking their hands, ”reports Dr. Curt Beil from the BDN. Muscle weakness of the hand with stiffness of the fingers is also a possible symptom.

In the further course of the disease, pronounced pain develops, which extend from the hand to the forearm to the shoulder and neck area. If the carpal tunnel syndrome has persisted for several years, the affected fingers can become numb. “As the disease progresses, the ball of the thumb muscles visibly recede and the grip strength of the thumb decreases significantly. The pain can also subside, but this can indicate severe damage to the nerve fibers, ”warns the neurologist from Cologne.

Well curable in the early stages

“If the disease is identified and treated early, the chances of a cure without any consequential damage are very good. It is therefore important and advisable that those affected see a neurologist when symptoms begin. ”In most cases, the diagnosis is easy to make, as the symptoms are often typical. It must be ruled out that the symptoms are caused by damage to the cervical spine. A neurologist can measure the conduction velocity of the nerves to indicate the extent of damage. “In the early stages, immobilizing the wrist with the help of a splint may be sufficient. If necessary, anti-inflammatory and analgesic treatment can also be carried out, ”adds the neurologist. The intake of cortisone also brings good results in some cases. If the symptoms persist for weeks, surgery can be considered.

Preventing carpal tunnel syndrome

People who work a lot on the computer and athletes with one-sided movements are particularly at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. You can prevent the disease by taking breaks, avoiding improper stress and wearing wrist protectors. When working with a computer, an ergonomically shaped keyboard is advisable as well as the use of a mouse whose dimensions match the size of the hand and which can be moved smoothly. Regular exercises that strengthen and loosen the wrists are also beneficial - for example, clenching the hand into a fist, spreading fingers and shaking them out.

Source: Professional Association of German Neurologists


Sandra Göbel / BDN | last changed on at 16:59

Important note: This article has been written according to scientific standards and has been checked by medical professionals. The information communicated in this article can in no way replace professional advice in your pharmacy. The content cannot and must not be used to make independent diagnoses or to start therapy.