Pins and needles in arm or hand

Pins and needles or numbness in the forearm, wrist, hand or fingers indicate neural symptoms usually from the neck (cervical spine) where nerve damage has occurred. It may be felt in the forearm, hand, fingers or elbow depending on the type of injury and can be radiating, burning, intermittent or constant.

Pins and needles can also be from swelling, a fracture or tightness, where the nerve is compressed or entrapment as happened. Injuries and conditions that cause this symptom are listed below:
  • Radial Tunnel Syndrome

    Radial Tunnel Syndrome

    Radial tunnel syndrome or radial nerve entrapment as it is sometimes called is when the radial nerve gets compressed or restricted in the tunnel it passes through. This elbow injury is more often caused by rotation of the wrist/lower arm rather than repetitive extension like tennis elbow, but the symptoms of both these injuries can be similar.

  • Ulna Nerve Contusion

    Ulna Nerve Contusion

    The ulnar nerve runs down the inside of the elbow. If you knock the inside of the elbow, you can hit the ulnar nerve (or funny bone) which causes a numbness or tingling down the forearm into the fourth and fifth fingers. When this nerve becomes trapped or damaged through repetitive strain or a direct impact, it creates this sensation and can cause elbow pain.

  • Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

    The cubital tunnel is an area on the inner elbow through which the ulnar nerve passes. Cubital tunnel syndrome is caused by compression on the nerve and may also be known as ulnar nerve compression or hitting your 'funny bone'. There are various reasons why the nerve becomes compressed, inlcuding arthritis and repetitive bending of the arms.

  • Pronator Teres Syndrome

    Pronator teres syndrome is an entrapment of the median nerve, where it passes between the two parts of the pronator teres muscle in the arm causing pain, numbness and tingling in the forearm and hand. As the name indicates, pronating the hand (turning the hand with the palm facing down) can cause and exacerbate this arm injury.

  • Median Nerve Injury

    Median nerve injury

    Injury to the median nerve at the elbow may cause symptoms to appear in the forearm, wrist, and hand. Median nerve injuries are often caused by another acute injury which traps or tears the nerve, causing numbness in the forearm. Read more on the symptoms, causes, and treatment of this arm injury.

  • Carpal Fracture

    Carpal Fracture

    A carpal fracture is a break to one of the 8 small carpal bones in the wrist. A direct impact, such as a fall, usually causes this type of fracture, and symptoms include wrist pain, swelling and tenderness. As with all fractures, medical help should be sought. The wrist being in a cast is usually enough to repair the fracture, but surgery may be needed for more complex breaks.

  • Broken Wrist

    Broken Wrist

    A broken wrist (or fractured wrist) is a fracture or break in the wrist end of either the radius and ulna forearm bones or any of the small carpal bones in the wrist. There are a number of different types of wrist fracture so an accurate diagnosis is essential. If you get a sudden wrist pain and any of the other following symptoms, you should get medical help as soon as possible.

  • RSI - Repetitive Strain Injury

    Repetitive Strain Injury

    RSI or repetitive strain injury is a general term rather than a specific diagnosis used to describe gradual onset pain usually in the forearm, wrist and hand. RSI is a term that covers several different causes of wrist pain, but all are exacerbated by certain repetitive movements, whether they're from sport or from work. We look in more detail at the causes and treatments of this wrist injury.

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common cause of wrist pain. A dull ache is felt in the wrist and forearm with pain which may radiate into the hand and fingers. It is often worse at night and a tingling sensation can be felt. We explain the symptoms, causes, and treatment including exercises and surgery.

  • Handlebar Palsy

    Handlebar Palsy

    Handlebar palsy is a name given to a common condition suffered by cyclists. The symptoms are caused by compression of the ulnar nerve at the wrist against the handlebar. Treating this injury is usually simple, but sometimes medical help may be needed. Read more about Handlebar palsy here.

  • Bowler's Thumb

    Bowler's Thumb is an overuse injury resulting from compression or repeated friction on the inside of the thumb which causes pressure on the Ulnar nerve. As the name indicates, bowling is the main cause of this injury and causes the area to feel numb and weak. Resting from the activity causing the pain will usually help treat it.

  • Lateral Elbow Pain

    The most common term for pain on the outside of the elbow is Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis). However, there are a number of other causes of lateral elbow pain which should be considered as well as acute elbow injuries such as ligament sprains and fractures. Other potential causes of pain on the outside of the elbow include referred pain, radial tunnel syndrome, synovitis, bursitis and osteochondritis dissecans.

  • Forearm Pain

    Pain in the forearm can be sudden onset (acute) and include fractures of either the radius or ulna bones. Gradual onset of pain in the forearm can be caused by nerve impingements or from overuse of the wrist. Or from referred pain higher up the arm or shoulder.

  • Acute Wrist Injuries

    Sudden onset injuries are called acute injuries and are usually caused by a fall onto the hand with an outstretched arm or a forced twisting movement. Damage can occur to the bones, ligaments (connect bone to bone) or tendons (connect muscle to bone) in the wrist. In the first 72 hours, the first aid principles of P.R.I.C.E. are advised including protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If a broken bone (fracture) is suspected, then always seek medical advice immediately.

  • Hand & Finger Injuries

    Injuries to the hand and fingers are common in sports and must be taken seriously. Injuries in this area can be very debilitating and if treated incorrectly they can have long-term consequences in terms of hand and finger function.