It’s one thing when your entire hand feels chilly cold, but what if only one finger feels cold? This is a very oddball symptom, but it has explanations.

“Cold hands can be a result of exposure to cold temperatures, either in the climate or from holding a cold object,” begins J. Mark Anderson, MD, DABFM, of Executive Medicine of Texas and who is board certified in family medicine.

Dr. Anderson continues, “Recurring cold hands and fingers, especially with a white tint, is a sign of Reynaud’s phenomenon. This is a condition where spasm of the blood vessels causes temporary disruption in circulation to the extremities.”

However, Reynaud’s does not usually affect only one finger, though it’s possible.

“When just one finger is cold, in addition to Reynaud’s, it may also be a result of position of the hand,” continues Dr. Anderson.

“For example, some people type with all of their fingers except the pinky fingers. Instead, they hold these in the air. This elevated position with lack of movement can cause those fingers to be slightly cooler.”

Take a mental inventory of what your icy cold finger has been doing – or not doing – in the few days leading up to the onset of this symptom. Has there been anything unusual?

“In a finger that has suffered trauma, such as a break, sprain or nerve damage, can have lasting circulation problems. That can cause the finger to be cooler than others.

“If a finger is cold, painful or the color is inconsistent with the other fingers, seek medical attention immediately.”

Dr. Anderson is coauthor of the award-winning book, “Stay Young: 10 Proven Steps to Ultimate Health,” and host of the nationally syndicated Staying Young Show which goes to podcast as Staying Young Show 2.0.
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.