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Arthritis and Rheumatism

What Does Cold Hands and Numbing of Fingers Indicate?

04/29/2008

Question:

Hi, I am experiencing a cold right hand and a little numbing of the fingers. It almost feels like a pinched nerve and it is only in the right hand. I do weight lifting 3 times a week and I just wondered if something like this could affect this. I also feel like my fine motor skills are being affected too, such as typing and writing. Please let me know if you any idea as to what this could be. I do have linear schleroderma (affects only the skin on torso) but have not had a flare up in 20 years. Thank you.

Answer:

The symptoms could be consistent with carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist region. Symptoms may include numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness. The motions performed as part of your weightlifting may indeed exacerbate your symptoms, especially if there is excessive or repetitive extension or flexion of your wrists during the exercise activity. In addition to affecting fine motor skills, positioning of your wrists and hands during the particular activity may also exacerbate symptoms.

Raynaud's phenomenon is also a common symptom associated with scleroderma and its variants. This is pathology of the inner lining of blood vessels that may lead to spasticity or narrowing of the blood vessel. The clinical result may be cool fingers, color changes of the fingers, or ulcerations at the digital tips.

Examination and diagnostics by your physician may help in discovering the cause and subsequent treatment of your symptoms.

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Response by:

Raymond  Hong, MD, MBA, FACR Raymond Hong, MD, MBA, FACR
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University