The numbness in your fingers and hand may be caused by pronator teres syndrome.

“Whereas carpal tunnel syndrome is compression of the median nerve at the wrist, pronator syndrome is median nerve compression at the elbow, says Jonathan Oheb, MD, North Valley Orthopedic Institute, Chief of Orthopedic Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery.

“Symptoms similar to carpal tunnel syndrome include numbness, pain, tingling, burning in the thumb, index, middle and half of the ring finger,” continues Dr. Oheb.

Pronator Teres Syndrome vs. Carpal Tunnel

“Differences unique to pronator syndrome include aching pain localized to the forearm, lack of night symptoms (seen in CTS), worsening with repetitive prono-supination, loss of sensation to the palm of the hand (due to a branch of the median nerve that comes off before the carpal tunnel).”

Prono-supination refers to repeatedly rotating your palm back and forth 180 degrees.

“There are varying degrees of pain and paresthesias (tingling, numbness) with pronator syndrome,” says Dr. Oheb.  The pain is “localized over the proximal forearm and paresthesias distally in the thumb, index, middle and half of the ring finger.

“Usually stiffness is not a presentation of pronator syndrome.  Late findings of pronator syndrome may lead to weakness in the thenar muscles of the hand which may make certain functions difficult to perform.”

What can you do?

Resting the forearm muscles, splinting to prevent forearm prono-supination, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories are the mainstay of conservative treatment for pronator syndrome.  This is continued for a minimum of 3-6 months before any surgery is considered.”

Numbness in the fingers and hand can have a variety of causes. This symptom should always be investigated if it persists. For example, an underactive thyroid can cause numbness in the fingers.