This is about the TIP of your pinkie being numb, rather than the entire finger.
Are you freaking over sudden numbness in the tip of your pinkie?
Compression or trauma of the ulnar nerve at the elbow will cause numbness in the pinkie finger, not just the tip, and also the fourth or ring finger.
But what if the numbness is very localized to just the tip of the pinkie finger?
This happened to me immediately after I performed a heavy barbell curl set.
A strong clue that the cause of numbness is a local trauma is when the numbness is LOCAL.
And numbness at the tip of the pinkie is very local. If the insult that’s causing the numbness were occurring further up the nerve or originating in the spinal cord, then there’d be numbness beyond the extreme confines of just the fingertip.
For example, a pinched nerve in the neck will not cause numbness in just a fingertip. Other portions along the nerve distribution will also be affected.
For example, my brother-in-law had numbness and weakness in his hand and arm—as the result of a pinched nerve in his neck.
If you suddenly find that the tip of your pinkie is numb, ask yourself if there’s been any recent, undue pressure applied to it. I was performing an uncommon type of barbell curl to simulate real-life lifting.
In real life, we don’t stand there repeatedly curling our biceps (repeated elbow flexion).
However, in real life, we may one day have to load heavy things onto a ledge or platform at chest height.
So I was mimicking this action, lifting the barbell from a straight-armed position, barbell at my pelvic area, onto the pegs that held various barbells at the gym — the top-most peg of the standard pre-weighted barbell rack.
I did this for seven reps. The act of setting down the weight would press the bar against my pinkies. Well, the right one got the brunt of the pressure.
The pinkie tip was numb right after the set and throughout the remainder of the day, even a little bit the next day.
Sudden numbness in the tip of your pinkie is nothing to worry about.
“The pressure could be from carrying heavy items,” says Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, Medical Advisory Board Member, Nutritional Magnesium Association at nutritionalmagnesium.org.
Dr. Dean continues, “If the pressure damaged a small nerve, it will take time for that nerve to stop swelling and stop being inflamed.
“Also, the less magnesium stores a person has means more possibility of prolonged symptoms.”
Dr. Dean, in practice for 35+ years and author of “The Magnesium Miracle,” is also a naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist, acupuncturist, lecturer and consultant.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.