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What Causes Twitching Fingers?

A diet high in carbonated drinks can cause twitching fingers.
Typing on a keyboard can be hard on the wrists, possibly aggravating carpal tunnel problems.
Electrolyte imbalance might cause fingers to twitch.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause the index finger to twitch.
In addition to twitching fingers, individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome may experience numbness or tingling sensation in the fingers.
Parkinson’s disease often starts with minor twitches, as the dopamine producing cells in the brain begin to slowly deteriorate.
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  • Written By: Maggie J. Hall
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2014
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Twitching fingers can occur secondary to benign muscle spasms, dietary deficiencies, or electrolyte imbalance. Involuntary twitching might also be a symptom of nerve injury or a more serious central nervous system disorder. Numbness or tingling sometimes accompany the twitching. Affected individuals may seek a definitive diagnosis when the twitching increases in severity, progresses beyond the fingers, or is accompanied by pain.

A relatively harmless condition known as benign fasciculation syndrome might begin with twitching fingers, involuntary muscle spasms of the eyelids, limbs, or tongue. The spasms may occur intermittently or continuously and generally cease upon purposeful movement of the affected area. A positive diagnosis typically involves eliminating other causes. Benign fasciculation syndrome is usually treated with beta-blockers and antiseizure medications.

Nutritional deficiencies can alter electrolyte levels, which might cause twitching fingers. Calcium, magnesium or potassium levels that are below normal often produce twitching or muscle cramps. Diets low in calcium or high in carbonated soda consumption can contribute to abnormally low blood calcium levels and subsequent muscle twitching or cramping. Carbonated soda may also deplete magnesium levels, and excessive vomiting, diarrhea, or perspiration can lead to lowered potassium levels.

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Thumb and index finger twitching might be symptoms of a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome, which is usually associated with repetitive motion injury. The median nerve passes from the forearm, through the wrist and branches into the thumb, index finger, and middle finger of the hand. Prolonged, continuous motion usually causes wrist tissue swelling, which compresses the nerve and produces twitching, numbness, and tingling.

Imaging studies, blood tests and, possibly, tissue biopsies generally provide a positive diagnosis. Management of the condition involves prevention of further nerve damage. A physician may also prescribe analgesics, splints, or braces to alleviate discomfort. Surgery is sometimes necessary to correct the problem.

Certain disease processes often begin with minor symptoms that include twitching fingers. The neurological disorder known as Parkinson’s disease often starts with minor twitches or tremors but eventually progresses toward complete debilitation. The affliction occurs when dopamine producing cells in the brain begin to undergo a slow deterioration process. Diagnosis usually involves a physical assessment, a family and personal medical history, and imaging studies.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is another degenerative nerve disorder that might produce finger or hand twitching. This devastating disease involves nerve cell death that eventually affects all body systems. Twitching and spasms evolve into muscle weakness and wasting. Physicians confirm the disorder after imaging, and blood and neurological testing rule out other causes.

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anon946504
Post 9

I've experienced some twitching as well. Lately it has been my index finger. Sometimes my thumb will twitch as well, however it lasts for just a few seconds and its not painful, so I just brush it aside. My doctor told me a while back that sometimes a nerve just goes haywire. I've been under some stress as well.

amysamp
Post 8

@geekish - Good news! It is preventable or at least maybe the tips I have picked up can help keep you healthier for longer!

But I agree with you, whether it is one twitching index finger or all of your hand twitching it can be a scary thing as some twitching was stated in the article as beginning symptoms to larger disorders such as ALS.

Anyway - back to those tips while typing so we can do our best to prevent twitching fingers due carpal tunnel.

The idea is to sit and type in such a way that does not squeeze your medial nerve. This is the nerve that is damaged in carpal tunnel and it runs from your forearm to wrist - so stop squeezing that nerve.

Some ideas to do this - a pad at the bottom of your keyboard that pulls up your palms and leaves your wrist and most of your forearm pinch free.

Also keep wrists neutral - no bending it and keeping them at odd angles while you type till your heart's content.

Lastly the other one I remember even though I am not sure how much it helps - take mini-breaks while sitting at the computer for a long time. I remember this one, because even if it does not help my prevention of twitching fingers, it helps me keep my sanity and increases my productivity when I have been looking a screen for far too long.

geekish
Post 7

Typing is a part of both of my jobs, and it just seems all around like trouble. I hear from exercise gurus that our bodies are not meant to sit for so long, and that in some cases that sitting for so long cannot be compensated for by exercising for thirty minutes a day.

Now I know that typing might cause twitching fingers because of carpal tunnel syndrome being related to typing! Now I do not care if it is my pinky finger twitching or just my middle finger twitching - one finger is too much if it can be prevented!

But I know I am not the only one with these issues because lots of us are tied to our desk, so I was wondering ... what are some ways people are finding they may be preventing carpal tunnel syndrome? Or is it preventable by anything other than not typing?

John57
Post 6

When my mom is under a lot of stress or in a situation that she is uncomfortable with, she gets a twitching thumb.

It is something that she has experienced as long as she can remember, and only happens when she is stressed. There is nothing she can do to stop it and the twitching is only for a few seconds.

She said it is always on her right hand and never on her left. Our bodies have different ways of dealing with stressful situations and this is one way her body reacts to stress.

Mykol
Post 5

I have never experienced involuntary twitching in my finger, but I have had this with my eyes. This is something I usually notice if I am in a stressful situation.

All of a sudden, with no reason, my eye will start twitching. I know that I can feel this happening, but don't know if it is visible to someone else or not. It is just a few seconds of twitching and might happen more than once over a period of a few minutes.

Since this is something that only seems to happen when I am under a lot of stress, I have never had it checked out. So far, it hasn't affected any other part of my body. I can see how stress might affect your fingers the same way it does your eyes.

Calvin77
Post 4

@ElbowTickle - Caffeine makes me twitch too, but being hungry is worse. If I skip meals and get really hungry -- usually because I'm working -- my hands start twitching. I've looked up twitching finger causes before, so I'm not worried. I don't drink that much caffeine, so I only really get twitches when I don't eat.

My sister has always had a clearing throat thing. Apparently, it can be caused by a twitch too. I always assumed in was allergies. She has it year round, so it might actually be a twitch.

ElbowTickle
Post 3

I read that twitching of fingers can be caused by your body. There is a small amount of twitching and shaking that happens naturally and some people just have a higher muscle-twitching rate. I forget what it's called now, but that's why the elderly usually become shaky. Your body is just moving your muscle in a small way.

I know that caffeine can cause twitching too. If I have too many cups of coffee in the morning, I get really twitchy. My hands will twitch randomly when I try to hold still. I doubt it's a muscle disorder, because it goes away after awhile.

popcorn
Post 2

Making sure that you are drinking plenty of water and eating foods that are rich in potassium can help prevent muscle cramps and twitching fingers.

When I was working out excessively during my final year of college, I sometimes would let myself get dehydrated, and it caused the worst muscle cramps imaginable. Not to mention that lacking potassium also does a number on your muscles.

My doctor gave me a simple tip, just drink a lot of water and eat a few bananas a week and it should be enough to keep twitching muscles at bay if there is no underlying condition.

wander
Post 1

I've suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome for quite a few years and it definitely does cause twitching fingers. After I have been typing for long periods of time, I will find that my wrist will swell and my thumb will usually twitch.

My doctor has given me some anti-inflammatory medication, alongside pain killers for when my wrists really start to ache. I find that resting my wrist on an ice pack can help the swelling a bit, although it doesn't ever go down completely.

Unfortunately I type for a living, so I can't exactly take a break just because of a bit of pain and numbness.

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