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Numb Fingers After Long Runs


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#1 crabby

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 04:43 PM

Hello CR's
I have noticed a weird and slightly worrying phenomenon after my long runs. For some time now, after my long Sunday runs (2-2.5 hours 18-22 km) I have found that about half an hour or so after I finish, my finger tips become very numb and look white and bloodless. This last for 30-60 minutes and when the blood and feeling returns it is quite painful, like pins and needles only worse. Doesnt' usually happen after shorter runs although it has happened once or twice after a shorter intense session(like intervals). Any ideas what is causing this and how to prevent it? Any one else experienced anything similar?

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#2 Grey beard

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 06:02 PM

Yep - I definitely get something similar crabby. For me there are two different sensations. On a long run (or worse still, a long walk) my fingers often swell up and go numb - I assume because the blood tends to pool in the extremities. I also get the pins and needles feeling after intense speedwork sessions, possibly for the same reasons.

In both cases it goes away fairly quickly. After long runs/walks it takes a few minutes for the swelling to go down and after speedwork the pins and needles go away pretty much as soon as my breathing and heart rate return to normal.

My doc has told me it's normal - my blood pressure is ok and there's no evidence of heart disease at this stage. Might be worth checking with your doc next time you have a check up. I'd be interested to know how many others get these sensations.

#3 mikey_a

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 10:07 PM

Me too!
Although I thought it may have been due to something pulling blood AWAY from the extremities. Either the fight/flight/adrenaline system getting out of whack when the body's under stress or because there'd be more blood required around the leg muscles after a hard session.
If the latter is true, the symptoms should go away if you ice your lower half....cold bath anyone?

#4 Steve 'The Footman'

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 10:51 PM

White numb fingertips are most likely caused by vasoconstriction of the peripheral arterioles.  Swelling is more likely to be related to an allergic reaction and have a red appearance.  If it is affected by colder weather then Reynaulds is a possibility.  In very rare cases it can be caused by scleroderma but there would likely be other symptoms.  Worth a doctors visit but without the symptoms showing it is unlikely they will be sympathetic.  Better go for a long run before you go.

#5 the_en4cer

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 11:05 PM

I'm not sure if the two are related but I don't get numb fingers when I do a long run I get numb feet. At first I thought it had something to do with how tight my laces were or the way in which I laced my shoes - so  I tried different tensions and lacing methods and no luck.
Back in May when I was really sick with a mystery illness the Doc was doing different medical tests to find out what was wrong and I told him about the numb feet - he told me it was my shoes. The thing is I've had the problem with different shoes as well.
I'm assuming whatever the problem is that its not severe enough for me to die while running or the Doc would have found some abnormality somewhere when I raised the issue with him. I'd be interested to know if anyone has also had numb feet while running.

#6 Running Gal

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 03:09 AM

I have had this hapenning as well recently in cold weather.

After 30minutes or so after my run, the tips of my fingers get numb and white.  :huh: I find that putting them directly under hot water for a min or so seems to help getting them back to normal faster. I was also wondering what this may be caused by, it just started hapenning this winter, never before.

#7 runizzyrun

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 10:59 AM

This happens often to me, but only in my right hand, and now it is starting to move up my arm to my elbow. My blood pressure is normal and I have had tests done to ensure my arteries are not narrowed (which they are not). my masseuse thinks that my rotator cuff muscles are quite twisted which could be causing the problem. She has been working on them (ouch!!!!), and it does seem to be helping. Do you have it in both hands after every long run? i find it is only after runs longer than 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

#8 Louise

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 12:44 PM

Me too!  The ring finger on my left hand goes completely white - it starts after I stop running and lasts until about 5 minutes into a hot shower.

It's the only finger that it happens to, an no, I don't wear a ring on that (or any other) finger... hmmm, maybe that's a sign!

#9 crabby

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 01:51 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who experiences this. Yes, it does happen in both hands but seems worse on the right hand. Might try to schedule a long run before my next doctor visit...

#10 red rover

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 06:36 PM

Hi all,the problem your'e suffering from is called Raynauds Syndrome.The very small arteries in the fingers go into spasm and blocks the blood supply.It is usually caused by cold weather or vibrating machinery.Mine turn white whilst cutting the grass,from the vibrations of the lawn-mower also on cold morning runs.

#11 courtlylove

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 10:18 AM

Yes, there is a phenomenon called Raynauds Sydnrome - just as red rover has described it. I first came across it when I worked as a Lactation Consultant (some women get it in their nipples which makes breastfeeding very painful). Then I developed it myself about two years ago, initially in my fingers but also, now and again in my toes. It often occurs for me when I carry heavy bags.

I also get it first thing in the morning - usually in winter but also occasionally in the summer - when I get in the car to go to work. I couldn't work out why, at first, then after some research I worked out that it was having to touch the cold car door and steering wheel that started it. It now helps if I wear gloves to get into the car in cold weather. Otherwise I just put the hot air vents on and hold my hands up to the flow of air.

The best thing to do to minimise it is to keep your hand warm - gloves, heat packs, whatever works for you. One of the best sites I've found is www.raynauds.org.au.

CL

#12 Rooz

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 03:07 PM

Hi Everyone,

I have this problem too. My fingers get so swollen on long runs/walks that I can no longer remove my rings, even they they are normally quite loose. On cold mornings, my fingers get very numb. They often go very white. When I hold my hands up to the warm air vents in my car, they get very painful, and turn a bright red colour.

I have heard about Raynauds Syndrome. I am by no means an expert, but from what I have read, it is not serious in itself. It can occur in conjunction with some autoimmune diseases.

I have tried wearing gloves, but my hands just don't seem to be able to maintain or generate enough heat. It would be great if someone invented some gloves that had their own built-in heat source!

RZ

#13 Buttle

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 11:33 AM

I am fairly new to running and am only up to running about 40 minutes non-stop although I've done a couple of one hour runs.
The other night I decided to run for only 30 minutes but to try and run it faster. A few minutes after I had finished my lips felt numb. I looked in the mirror and they weren't swollen. And I was able to speak okay. After about ten minutes the feeling gradually came back.
Is it the same syndrome?

#14 TRAVY

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 06:36 AM

That happens to me after a long run sometimes. I presume it is because my arms are bent and my legs need more blood when I run. I just shake my arms out after the run

#15 Steve 'The Footman'

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 07:12 AM

View Postred rover, on Jan 24 2007, 06:36 PM, said:

Hi all,the problem your'e suffering from is called Raynauds Syndrome.
You should not jump to conclusions about Reynauds as a cause.  Reynauds disease or syndrome is a relatively common problem in young women who are exposed to cold weather.  The peripheral vasoconstriction does block the blood supply to the fingertips causing a blue or white appearance.  This colour change is often reflected in the lips as well as fingers and toes.  It is generally benign except for an increased risk of chillblans.  Warming up the hands quickly in hot water or hot air may increase the pain experienced.

The more serious Renauds is "Reynauds Phenomenom" which is a secondary sign of a primary systemic condition effecting the connective tissue of the body.  It is worth seeing a doctor to rule out this as a possibility especially if you are not a women aged 15 to 30.

Numbness can have a variety of causes but a blue or white appearance is more representative of Reynauds.  Swelling is not really a normal sign of Reynauds because blood is shunted away from the periphery to the core.  Numbness just means there is a neural dysfunction which may be caused by ischemia (lack of blood supply) but is more likely to be caused by something else, especially if you do not have the associated colour changes.

#16 Locus

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 04:40 PM

I have a problem where at the end of a long/hard run, my right hand and a bit of the forearm go numb and the hand feels like its swollen a little.  This only happens on the right hand/arm, and it happens in the heat (ie not cold related).  I've tried to focus on relaxing the hand and not holding anything in it, thinking I might be unconsciously causing it, but it just happens anyway.  It passes soon after finishing.  It freaks me out a bit when I begin to lose feeling there ;)

#17 gadis

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 09:28 PM

As well as all the previously discussed possible causes of changes of colour/sensations etc to peripheries- another cause of pins and needles in hands/feet of runners is hyperventilation. Commonly seen in recovery tents after long distance runs/triathalons etc.

#18 knassy

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 11:20 PM

I get numbness and tingling in my fingers when running too. I manage it by 'shaking out' my hands every few minutes and keeping my fingers relaxed and moving.

#19 bear

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Posted 11 December 2007 - 07:58 PM

Ive got Reynauds so I moved away from Canberra to Gods country! Central Coast. Hardly affects me at all now  ;)

#20 runizzyrun

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 06:51 AM

I actually went to a specialist to have this checked out. It turns out I have Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. There is nothing you can do about it, short of having a rib removed!! THis they don't recommend except under extreme circumstances. He said the only other way to stop it is to give up whatever is causing it, i.e. running!! Yeah, right! So, now I just put up with it. Now that it is diagnosed I don't fret so much, so it's not so bad.

#21 chilliman

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 09:43 AM

View Postrunizzyrun, on Dec 12 2007, 06:51 AM, said:

, short of having a rib removed!!

Weren't your ribs popping out on their own izzy ? Maybe you'd get a discount, no power tools required during surgery ;)  ^_^

Glad to hear that it doesn't sound too serious.

#22 brizza

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 10:04 AM

reynauds can be a symptom of thoracic outlet syndrome,more commonly there is tingling on the pinky side of the hand and forearm,the rib thing is often due to an extra rib which the muscles,nerves and blood vessels have to pass over or around somehow to get from the neck and heart to the arm,people get relief from shaking it out but others find that (paradoxically)shaking the hands above the head is better,the reason being that it takes the pressure off the structures trapped by the extra rib.it is possible to have two extra ribs above the normal ones and they are sometimes made of cartilage so they don't show up on xray,a smart physio or chiro should pick it up as a possible cause-briz

#23 runizzyrun

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 01:27 PM

View Postchilliman, on Dec 11 2007, 08:43 PM, said:

Weren't your ribs popping out on their own izzy ? Maybe you'd get a discount, no power tools required during surgery ;)  ^_^

Glad to hear that it doesn't sound too serious.
Wrong ribs unfortunately!! Yeah, I'm glad it's not serious too.

#24 littleblackpug

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 08:17 AM

It's Raynaud's season again :)

I took this photo of my hand when I got back from my long run on Monday when the weather turned cold.....the colour has improved as I have been inside using my hands for about 10 minutes before I thought to take a photo, but the edema is still obvious.

I included a photo of my hand normally for comparison (center photo).

Attached Files


Edited by littleblackpug, 01 May 2008 - 08:19 AM.