The finger numbness can drastically affect the ability of the individual to carry out daily tasks whether at home or work. The normal sensation will allow the individual to type on a computer without looking at the fingers, avoid touching a sharp object or burning the skin. Even though finger numbness is usually triggered by nerve compression, it can be linked with an underlying medical condition. It is best to consult a doctor in order to determine the exact cause of the pinkie finger numbness.
Nerve root compression
The nerves that is responsible for providing sensation to the fingers start at the cervical spine. Arthritis and disk herniation are the common causes of nerve root compression in the neck. The bones in the spine are separated by disks. It is important to note that these sponge-like cushions that move out of their normal position, thus putting pressure on the nerve roots as they exit the spine. If disk herniation occurs below the seventh cervical vertebrae, it increases the pressure, causing numbness of the pinkie finger.
Compression of the elbow nerve
The spinal nerve roots branch off into several nerves that provide sensation and power the muscles in the arm. The ulnar nerve starts off from the eight cervical and primary thoracic nerve roots. The nerve travels along the interior of the elbow, providing sensation to the forearm, ring and pinkie fingers.
There are various factors that contribute to the compression of the ulnar nerve at the elbow. This nerve travels in between muscles and via a tunnel as it runs along the interior of the elbow. Even though the exact cause of nerve compression is not always determined.
Compression of the wrist nerve
The ulnar nerve travels along the interior forearm and into the hand. The nerve enters the palm of the pinkie side of the hand, travelling via a tunnel. Even though rare, the compression of the ulnar nerve in the hand can lead to pinkie finger numbness. Cysts, tumors, arthritis and blood vessel disease can increase the pressure on the ulnar nerve in the Guyon canal. Additionally, the ulnar nerve can end up damaged due to trauma in this area of the hand. The compression of the ulnar nerve in the hand will not cause tingling in the forearm, differentiating it from compression at the neck or elbow.
Considerations to bear in mind
The numbness in the pinkie finger can be caused by an underlying medical condition. In some individuals, diabetes can damage the nerves. At an early stage, the individual can experience mild tingling and numbness that comes and goes, usually in the fingers or toes. The affected area can also become completely numb. Take note that this nerve damage can be triggered due to extended exposure to elevated blood sugar or reduced circulation. Chronic inflammation which is linked with diabetes can lead to structural damage to the nerves, resulting to pinkie finger numbness.
Pinkie finger numbness can also lead to stroke which is a life-threatening emergency. Blood vessel damage or blood clots can diminish the flow of blood to the brain. Being prepared with what to do is possible by enrolling in a first aid course. Abrupt tingling or numbness in the fingers, particularly on one side of the body can indicate that the individual is having a stroke.