Does arthritis cause numbness or tingling?

Does arthritis cause numbness or tingling?

The simple answer is yes, arthritis can cause sensations of numbness, tingling or burning. This could be due to a number of reasons, but is indicative of nerve involvement. Inflammation in the joints due to arthritis can lead to compression of the nerves resulting in a loss of sensation. Additionally, conditions such as osteoarthritis can cause the formation of bony spurs.  If this occurs in the spine it may causes pain in the neck or low back. Bony spurs that form along the arthritic spine can irritate spinal nerves, causing severe pain, numbness, and tingling of the affected parts of the body. Bony spurs can form in other joints such as the wrist or ankle leading to localized numbness. These spurs combined with inflammation means that arthritis related diseases are common causes for secondary conditions such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The bones of the wrist are called the carpal bones and, along with a ligament, they form a tunnel through which the median nerve and several tendons run. The median nerve is the one that supplies sensation to the thumb side of the hand. If the nerve becomes compressed within that tunnel, numbness in the thumb and fingers can occur. Conditions such as Raynaud’s disease, which occur more frequently in arthritis patients than in the general population can also contribute to these sensations. Raynaud’s disease causes some areas of your body, such as your fingers and toes, to feel numb  in response to cold temperatures or stress. In Raynaud’s disease, smaller arteries that supply blood to your skin become narrow, limiting blood flow to affected areas (vasospasm). If you experience numbness you should consult your primary care physician to establish the root cause and what the best course of action is moving forward. In the interim keeping joints warm and mobile to increase circulation should help alleviate the symptoms.

Article Author
Arthritis National Research Foundation
arthritisresearch@curearthritis.org

The Arthritis National Research Foundation's mission is to provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. There are several ways to support research through the ANRF. Find out more and donate today.

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