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Re: Numb Pinky

Posted By CCF neuro MD MM on November 22, 1998 at 16:33:58:

In Reply to: Numb Pinky posted by J P on November 22, 1998 at 16:19:32:

I awoke this morning thinking my right pinky was asleep; after rubbing it for
several minutes I realized it was slightly numb but receiving circulation
(otherwise it would turn blue right?)
When my right hand is flat on a table, I cannot keep my pinky straight with
the other four fingers.  I had a bad break in the knuckle of this pinky
9 years ago.  I'm 28 years old.  I did not suffer this numbness when the
break happened.  I have done nothing to aggrevate the finger in the past
24 hours.  I do type a lot in my job, but no where near as much as a secretary.
I have not had any difficulty or fatigue from typing before, so i don't
view this as a problem.  I had about 6 beers last night, and i went to bed
normally with no problems or quirks.  
The numbness extends in a line from my pinky to the wrist-- so basically on
the "karate-chopping" base of my hand.  I am experiencing difficulty operating
a door key with my pointer finger and my thumb.  But neither of them are
numb.  A slight lack of coordination with these two fingers.  Zipping my fly
with these two fingers is clumbsy.  My wrist operates clumbsily and weak,
even though it seems ok.
I'm really scared.  I am a healthy young man with a love of sports.  My
efficiency at work will depend on typing effectively.  
Worst of all; I am self employed with only a 6 month medical insurance policy.
My deductible is in the thousands and I can't afford to pay thousands for
help.  I am trying to land a job with major medical, but who's gonna
hire a medically-expensive gimp with typing troubles in his good hand (right)
I almost fainted reading the mail under your CP and stroke headings.
My father had a stroke at age 60 from which he partially recovered;
he still has numbness and loss of use of his foot.  I guess this means a
family history potential for me?
What could have happened to me, in my sleep of all places, last night?
The story about the guy who slept at his desk and woke up with
Cerebral Palsy scares me bc it sounds like my case.  
Could all this be stress related?  I don't feel terribly stressed, but
I do have anxiety about my future concerning job hunt and current work.
I go for a run every week at least and I am not overweight. 6' 2"
and 180lb.  No weights, but push ups and sit ups three times a week.
Should I see a chiropractor, nuerologist, or general ppracticioner?
I am paying out of pocket, so who can I go to for the cheapest, yet efficient
care.  I live in Manhattan.
Thanks so much for having this page to answer questions
I admire the effort it takes and the motive of helping others.
J. Pitts  


Dear JP,
I do not think you have a great deal to worry about, this is certainly not
a stroke or any serious brain disease, I suspect that you have temporarily
compromised the ulnar nerve in you hand and that it will recover spontaneously.
The ulnar nerve supplies sensation to the pinky finger and the side of
the ring finger beside it, it also suplies sensation to that side of the hand
exactly a you describe. You are probably susceptible to injury to the nerve due
to the fracture years ago and probably pressurised the nerve in some way
in the last 24 hours, this is reported in people who cycle a lot or use
walkers, due to pressure on a little nerve branch in the hand.
I would advise you to give this a few days to settle on its own and if it
doesn't settle down go directly to a neurologist.
You give such a textbook description of the area supplied by the ulnar
nerve and I feel this is probably something fairly minor and transient.

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