feels like needle poking my finger

Feels like needle poking my finger




It must have happened to all of you that you often have tingling in your fingertips, that is called neuropathy among medical staffs.

Although most of these needle poking sensations are transient and happen when small pressure stimulate nerves and they gone as the pressure is eliminated.


For example, if you sleep on your hands and arms for a long time, or cross your legs, or sit on all fours for a long time, you may experience some kind of needle poking your hands or feet.

But is the only reason for the tingling of the fingers be this temporary pressure on the nerves?


Tingling in the hands, feet, and fingers can be accompanied by burning, itching, numbness and pain, which may be sign of what is called peripheral neuropathy.

Neuropathy is a disorder and damage to the nerve, and the peripheral neuropathy refers to the presence of nerve damage outside the brain and spinal cord.

 Till now there are more than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy. Detailed description of these causes is beyond this article, but I try to name some of the important and common causes.


What you will read next:


Causes of tingling and needle like feeling in the fingers

Diagnosis of different causes of this type of disease

How to get rid of needle like feeling in fingertips



Causes of tingling and needle like feeling in the fingers

Let's take a look at the causes of tingling in the fingers:


Cervical discopathy


Nerve impingement syndromes

Vitamin deficiency


Viruses and infectious agents

Poisonings and toxins


Autoimmune disorders

Hereditary disorders


Other less common causes


  • Cervical discopathy:

If you feel numbness in some of your fingers and feels normal in others, most likely the cause of your problem is nerve pressure.

One of the most common sites of this pressure originates from neck through disk disease.

Discopathy refers to any disease that put pressure to nerves that exit spinal canal.

In this disease, pain and needle like feeling sometimes but not always may presents from neck to finger tips.

If your needle like pain exacerbates in night time, mostly your problem is caused by pressure on nerves.


  • Diabetes:

If you are looking for the most common cause of peripheral neuropathies that lead to persistent and chronic tingling of the hands, feet, and fingers, you should know that diabetes is a common cause.


Thirty percent of cases of tingling in the fingers and toes are related directly or indirectly to diabetic neuropathy.

Despite cervical discopathy that mentioned above, diabetes can cause damage to nerves without any pressure and causes neuropathy in the legs, arms, digestive system, stomach, thighs, buttocks and head.

The pattern of neuropathy caused by diabetes called stocking glove neuropathy.

As the name indicates, the needle like feeling in diabetes induced neuropathy presents mostly in area covered by stocking and gloves.


Regular blood sugar control slows the progression of peripheral neuropathy in diabetes.


  • Nerve impingement syndromes:

Nerve fibers can get stuck in certain canals and areas, causing pain, tingling, and numbness in the nerve pathway.

Two common site of nerve entrapment that can cause needle like feeling in finger tips are wrist and elbow where median and ulnar nerve become caught respectively.


Median nerve entrapment or carpal tunnel syndrome; CTS:

Entrapment and pressure on the median nerve in the wrist causes carpal tunnel syndrome, which is the most common type of peripheral nerve impingement syndrome.

In this syndrome, there is tingling and pain from the wrist to the fingertips.

There is pain and numbness and tingling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger and ring finger on the palm of the hand. This complication gets worse at night.


Ulnar nerve entrapment of tardy ulnar palsy (TUP):

Another site for nerve entrapment outside of spinal canal is around the elbow area, in which Ulnar nerve get caught by ligaments and become injured.

In this circumstance, the pain and needle like feeling is felt at small fingers.

The ulnar nerve passes through the inner side of the elbow and passes through the inside of the wrist through Guyon’s canal.


  • Vitamin deficiency:

There are two major type of vitamins; water soluble and fat soluble. Both types play crucial role in normal function and repair of nerves.

Deficiency of B1, B6, B12 and B3 vitamins which are water soluble and vitamin A which is fat soluble may cause damage to nerves and lead in to neuropathy.

Beside the fact that vitamin deficiency will cause neuropathy, on the other hand, excessive intake of vitamin will cause vitamin toxicity and sometimes neuropathy.

Taking too much vitamin B6 can be associated with tingling in the fingers and needle like feeling because of neuropathy.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is well known cause of neuropathy. This neuropathy almost always accompanied by loss of blood formation and anemia. Thus, if someone feel needle poking his or her hands and suffer from low blood cells and anemia, vitamin B12 deficiency should be tested carefully.


  • Alcohol:

Alcoholics are very prone to vitamin B1 or thiamine deficiency.

Alcoholics who drink alcohol for a long time will suffer from alcohol induced neuropathy and simultaneously tingling in the fingers due to thiamine or B1 vitamin deficiency.


  • Viruses and infectious agents:

Yes, tingling in fingers can be the result of an infectious agent.

Finger tingling can occur in Lyme disease, and infection with Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV), Cytomegalovirus CMV infection, HIV, EBV and herpes simplex.

It is very uncommon for these infection to express themselves solely by needle like sensation in hands, but it can happen.


  • Poisonings and toxins:

Poisoning by:

  • Lead
  • Arsenic
  • Mercury
  • Thallium


  • Medicines:

If you read the data attached to medications that are prescribed by your physician, you may find neuropathy as a common adverse effect accompanied by therapeutic effects of medication.

In some medications that are listed below, the rate of producing neuropathy is higher than others:

  • Colchicine
  • Chloroquine
  • dapsone
  • ethambutol
  • Some antibiotics
  • Nitrofurantoin
  • Linezolid

 Some chemotherapy drugs:

  • Cytarabine
  • Bortezomib
  • Cisplatin
  • Oxaliplatin


Some antiviruses:

  • Lamivudine


Cardiac drugs:

  • Digoxin
  • Statins: Atorvastatin, Rosuvastatin
  • Amiodarone

And some others:

  • Levodopa
  • Lithium
  • Cimetidine
  • Phenytoin
  • Metronidazole


  • Autoimmune disorders:
    • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Guillain-Barré syndrome


Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease


  • Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can cause needle like feeling in finger tips by two common mechanism. It can cause carpal tunnel syndrome and puts pressure on median nerve and produces tingling sensation on thumb, index and middle finger.

Hypothyroidism may cause neuropathy because of fact that thyroid hormones are essential elements in normal function of nerves and proper regeneration capability of nerve cells.


  • Multiple sclerosis or MS:

MS in one of the most frightening cause of abnormal feeling and sensation across our body.

The numbness or needle like feeling in MS looks like what is seen in cervical discopathy, therefore it needs very exact examination to discover the true cause of altered sensation.


  • Other less common causes



Insect bites

Skin problems

Animal bites

Narrowing of the blood vessels in the fingers and toes can also be causes of tingling in the fingers, phenomenon called Raynaod syndrome.


Diagnosis of different causes of this type of disease:

As you see there are different causes for feeling needle like sensation in fingertips but this problem can be solved by obtaining an accurate history and asking about the history of drugs used and underlying diseases and with the help of paraclinical methods of diagnostic assistance such as:


  • Laboratory blood tests for vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, hypothyroidism, HIV infection, and...
  • Perform NCV and EMG Which determine the conduction velocity of the nerve and the electrical activity of the muscle
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Nerve biopsy


We remind you that tingling and numbness of parts of the body may be the first manifestations of MS, so if you frequently suffer from tingling of the limbs without any background disorder and without pressure on any part of your body, be sure to See your doctor for additional tests.

Here you can find some clue to find out the most probable causes for your needle like feeling in your finger tips:

  • If you have pain around your neck and shoulder beside needle like feeling then you may have cervical discopathy.
  • If you have numbness and pain associated with needle like feeling just in thumb, index and middle finger then you may have carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • If this niggling feeling senses only on the small finger, therefor the pressure on your Ulnar nerve around elbow beside cervical discopathy are the most relative diagnosis.
  • If your problem accompanied with blood test anemia and decrease in RBC then vitamin B12 deficiency should be take into consideration as the cause.


 How to get rid of needle like feeling in fingertips

Treatment depends on the cause of the peripheral neuropathy.

If the compressive causes become diagnosed in the early stages before permanent problems happen, then all the needle like feeling will gone completely without any long-term complications.

It means that underlying condition like cervical discopathy, Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and Tardy Ulnar nerve palsy benefits most from early diagnosis and treatment.

In other hand if your problem caused by other systematic problems like diabetes or hypothyroidism, the neuropathy may not resolve completely even by proper treatment and it may resist to some extent.


You can use the following to reduce the pain of peripheral neuropathy that leads to tingling in the fingers:

  • Massage
  • Hot compresses
  • Physical mobility

Increased blood flow helps reduce pain and tingling in the fingers.

  • Avoid alcohol and smoking.
  • Be sure to check your blood sugar under the supervision of a doctor.
  • If prescribed by a doctor, do not neglect the injection of vitamin B12 and the use of supplements containing vitamin B in appropriate doses.
  • Because of altered sensation, be carful about your hands. It is very common to injure your hand without any awareness during daily living.





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