Hand numbness is usually caused by damage, irritation or compression of one of the nerves or a branch of one of the nerves in your arm and wrist.

Diseases affecting the peripheral nerves, such as diabetes, also can cause numbness, although with diabetes similar symptoms usually occur first in your feet.

In very uncommon instances, numbness can be caused by problems in your brain or spinal cord, although in such cases arm or hand weakness or loss of function also occurs. Numbness alone is only rarely associated with potentially life-threatening disorders, such as strokes or tumors.

Your doctor will need detailed information about your symptoms to diagnose the cause of your numbness. A variety of tests may be needed to confirm the cause before appropriate treatment can begin.

Possible causes of numbness in one or both of your hands include:

  1. Alcohol use disorder
  2. Amyloidosis (buildup of abnormal proteins in your organs)
  3. Brachial plexus injury
  4. Carpal tunnel syndrome
  5. Cervical spondylosis
  6. Cubital tunnel syndrome
  7. Ganglion cyst
  8. Guillain-Barre syndrome
  9. HIV/AIDS
  10. Lyme disease
  11. Multiple sclerosis
  12. Paraneoplastic syndromes of the nervous system
  13. Peripheral neuropathy
  14. Raynaud's disease
  15. Side effects of chemotherapy drugs
  16. Sjogren's syndrome
  17. Spinal cord injury
  18. Stroke
  19. Syphilis
  20. Type 2 diabetes
  21. Ulnar nerve compression
  22. Vasculitis (blood vessel inflammation)
  23. Vitamin B-12 deficiency

Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Jan. 11, 2018