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Dr. Brims
Dr. Brims, U.S. Licensed Physician
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 9611
Experience:  U.S. Licensed Physician, general surgery and internal medicine experience
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hi! I am a 42-yr-old healthy female without any current major

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hi! I am a 42-yr-old healthy female without any current major health concerns. I have high-ish blood pressure that is under excellent control with meds (metopropolol and triamterene/HCTZ) and is around 128/80 when I measure at home. I am at least 80 lbs overweight but am working out 3x/week and trying to eat healthy.

My question: A few times over the past few months, I've had a pain in the tip of my right index finger. The pain comes when I brush something softly with the finger, like when I pick up my purse and my finger trails over the strap, or when I reach back to put my hair into a ponytail, or if I very softly and gently brush a finger from my left hand over the surface of that index finger. However, if I press harder and run for a few seconds, the pain stops, and it stays away while I"m pressing hard or doing something with more force.

If I wait and brush gently again, the pain is there. It feels like the pain from a splinter. The first time I had it, I was positive that I'd somehow gotten a splinter into my fingertip b/c it hurt in just the one specific spot at the tip of my finger, and nowhere else, and because light brushes against it hurt.

However, there are no marks/cuts/rough spots, no red or white spots, no holes, no sores, NOTHING to indicate that the skin has been broken in any kind of way. I have no hangnails, I didn't hit or bump or crush the finger, I didn't work with wood or fiberglass, there is no infection, I have no back or neck injuries...I can't think of ANY way I could have gotten a splinter. And the finger started hurting out of the blue while I was driving. One minute it was normal; the next minute I brushed my index finger along the steering wheel (which is very smooth and is not shedding any particles of any kind, and has no dirt/damage/buildup/gook on it) and got the sudden shooting pain.

This happened last month -- where I had that pain that came in that fingertip when I brushed something gently, and it went away after a few days. At the time, I assumed i'd had a micro-splinter and it had worked its way out.

This time, I'm not so sure. It's odd that the finger hurts in the same way, and same place, and there is again no evidence of injury.

I do a lot of typing and photography (I'm a photographer and I write a blog and edit online) and I'm right-handed, so I NEED that index finger to be well and in good working condition. It worries me that I have this weird pain. Right now it's not impacting my life or work very much at all, but I'm worried b/c it's come and gone before and I don't know why.

I was wondering if this kind of pain is an early pre-cursor of some kind of neurological issue? I don't have diabetes, but does this sound like a diabetic neuropathy kind of pain? My parents both have diabetes and my doc checks my blood regularly for diabetes and thyroid (everything was normal at the last check, which was a few months ago.) For the past month I've been working hard to avoid processed sugar and to eat gluten-free.

thanks for your reply!

Dr. Brims :

Hello, welcome to the site! My name isXXXXX will try to assist you with your medical question and any medical information you seek.

Dr. Brims :

I'm sorry to hear about this

Dr. Brims :

What you have describe sounds like neuropathy, likely from an irritated nerve

Dr. Brims :

This may usually subside on its own, but anti-inflammatory drugs like motrin are usually beneficial if the nerve is being irritated by surrounding inflamed tissue


thanks for your reply! Here are the kinds of things I've done recently: At the cross-fit gym, we had a tough workout the last time I went (Monday) - we did deadlifts with the bar (I lifted 65 lbs), then did rowing machine, lunges, and jumping pullups on the pullup bar. We also practiced Kipping pullups, which I can't do, so I just hang from the bar as long as I can to build endurance. Anyway, after this workout my hands/forearms were sore, but it felt like the "good" sore - not like any irritated nerves/etc. But I'm wondering if something in the workout irritated a nerve in my finger?

Dr. Brims :

Yes, something from the workout may have irritated a nerve in your finger, possible the median nerve, but it would be difficult to pinpoint the exact nerve without an exam


In the past, I've been tested for carpal tunnel, but that was about 8 yrs ago when I worked at Intel & did a ton of typing, and was having lots of wrist pain & tingling in my hands. At that time, the tests came back negative for carpal tunnel and for any kind of nerve damage at all. In fact, at that time, the doctor said my nerve conduction times were extremely fast and on the high end (I guess that's good.)


If this came and went in the past, should I assume that it will probably pass this time, too? Would you recommend ice, Advil (I'm not allergic to it or any other meds), etc?

Dr. Brims :

It may pass with time, I don't recommend ice, but motrin or advil may help

Dr. Brims :

Are you there?

Dr. Brims :


Were you able to see my replies in the chat session?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thanks for your help! Sorry for not responding - I was picking up a child from school. I know you can't say for sure w/out examining me, but in general: If a person were to have fingertip nerve pain from inflammation, is this the kind of thing that typically tends to recur? Or could it often be a one-time event? I want to keep working out at my cross-fit gym b/c I've already lost weight & become stronger and I feel great (except for my index finger pain, lol.) Could diet help with reduction in inflammation, perhaps lots of garlic or veggie juices?

This type of pain can recur when the nerve is irritated by surrounding soft tissues,stretching before you work out for 15 minutes may help decrease the inflammation
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