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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Physician / Surgeon
Category: Medical
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Experience:  U.S. Surgeon / Neurological Surgery
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My wife has been experiencing a numbness in the 3 middle fingers

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My wife has been experiencing a numbness in the 3 middle fingers on her right hand (and occasionally her thumb and pinkie) becoming numb and tingly several times a day, particularly in the morning when she first wakes up for the past 12-15 months, but in the last few weeks it has gotten progressively more severe and frequent. It is not associated with it being cold or poor circulation and it does not appear to be carpal tunnel syndrome either (we have done some research on the internet regarding CTS). I am concerned it might be nerve damage or some kind of degenerative nerve problem. In the last few days or so she has started to notice a similar sensation in her left hand.
Her fingers (on the right hand) have gone through several cycles of no swelling to the point where a ring she wears on the middle finger is very loose to severe swelling wear the ring is actually starting to form a bruise and a friction sore, all within a period of 24-48 hours.
If she holds her hands out, palms up an
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 6 years ago.
Why do you feel it is not carpal tunnel syndrome?

Does the back of the hand have the numbness?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
No numbness in the back of the hand.

Medication has not helped with the situation (NSAIDs) and she has has done several "unofficial" (re: not done by a licensed physician) tests such as the tinel test and the phalen's test and does not experience the type of pain or discomfort commonly descrtibed by Carpal Tunnel sufferers. The shaking of her hands does not relieve the pain. She is only in her late 20's and does not have an occupation with a highly repetitive motion (she does child day care).
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 6 years ago.
OK.

The numbness that is over the palm side of the hand, in those three fingers does seem to be related to median nerve compression -- at the carpal tunnel.

Not all people will have issues with the Phalen's or Tinel's test.

The test for diagnosis would be a nerve conduction test -- done by a neurologist.

However, the fact the pinkie numbness is involved also is not involved in the carpal tunnel (as the pinky finger is not involved with carpal tunnel). It could be an issue with the ulnar nerve, at Guyon's canal.

So, the best course of action may be to see a neurologist, to get this properly diagnosed.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hi Dr. Mark,
This is Erin, his wife. One of the only things that I was curious about with your responses were the fact that I find it strange the same symptoms are beginning in the other hand. For a few years it had been mostly my right hand, although with this severity happening in the last few weeks, it has been restricted mostly to my right hand. But, my left hand is still also having worsening symptoms, just nothing close to my right one. Any of these possibilities of these illnesses affectinh both hands at the same time? or does that almost drive it into a more neurologically severe situation. Thanks..
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 6 years ago.
Well, carpal tunnel syndrome is often found in both hands at the same time, because people that are predisposed to having it on one side, can have it on the other.

If such symptoms would have started at the same time exactly, then other possible issues (such as with the spinal cord) could be more likely. But I don't think that this is more "severe" neurologically, as when people get numbness limited in the hand region -- it tends to be the most likely of culprits, which is nerve compression. Certainly there are other possible causes, but this generally would require further investigation, with a neurologic exam and testing.
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