Burning in the fingers

Definition - What is a burning sensation in the fingers?

A burning sensation in the fingers can be understood in very different ways. It can be a superficial sensation on the skin, which resembles a burning pain after an insect bite or the nettles of a nettle. A deep-seated burning sensation can also occur in the fingers. It is often used to describe a discomfort that is based on a malfunction or damage to the nerves. The tingling sensation when the hand or fingers have fallen asleep can also manifest as a burning sensation in the fingers.

Causes of Burning Fingers

The causes of a burning sensation in the fingers can be very different. Typically, abnormal sensations caused by damage to the nerve fibers are perceived as burning.

  • The nerves can be damaged by a disease of the nerves themselves.
  • But a constriction or injury to the nerves can also be the cause.
  • Circulatory disorders usually make themselves felt as tingling or burning. The blood flow can be disturbed by a blood clot or by injuries to the blood vessels.
  • Various metabolic diseases such as the blood sugar disease diabetes mellitus can also attack blood vessels and nerves and thus lead to a burning sensation in the fingers.


Polyneuropathy (poly = a lot, neuro = nerves, pathos = disease) is a disease of the nerves that affects many nerves at once. Most polyneuropathies occur mainly in regions remote from the body, especially on the hands and feet. It is named after the fact that several nerves (i.e. several fingers, often on both sides) are always affected.

There are many reasons for polyneuropathy. Many metabolic diseases as well as drug and alcohol consumption can lead to nerve damage due to the deposition of toxins. As a result of this damage, information about temperature, pressure, touch and pain can no longer be adequately passed on to the brain. Instead, for example, every touch on the fingers is interpreted by the brain as a burning sensation or severe burning pain.

These articles might also interest you: Symptoms of polyneuropathy or diagnosis of polyneuropathy

Diabetes mellitus

In the metabolic disease diabetes mellitus, the body is unable to adequately metabolize the sugar that we ingest through food. As a result, the sugar builds up in the blood. This leads to calcification of the vessels over a long period of time, which promotes circulatory disorders and the formation of blood clots. Such a circulatory disorder usually affects the smallest vessels first and is therefore also called microangiopathy (micro = small, angio = vessel). The poor blood circulation in the fingers leads to a malfunction of the nerves, which is why a burning sensation can be felt in the fingers.The nerve fibers themselves can also be damaged by the high blood sugar levels. Polyneuropathy is a typical consequence of diabetes. This can also cause burning pain in the fingers.

Please also read:

  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Symptoms of diabetes
  • This is how I recognize diabetes
  • Consequences of diabetes

Vitamin B deficiency as a cause of burning fingers

Vitamin B deficiency is a typical cause of polyneuropathy. The most common is a vitamin B12 deficiency. However, a lack of vitamin B1 is also associated with polyneuropathies. The cause of this deficiency can be a reduced intake of the vitamin in food or a reduced absorption of vitamin B in the intestine. One disease that is specifically triggered by a vitamin B12 deficiency is funicular myelosis. This leads to damage in the central nerve tracts (initially mainly in the spinal cord). There, at the beginning of the disease, the nerve fibers that convey the sensitivity in the hands and feet are affected. If these nerve fibers are damaged, abnormal sensations in the form of burning, for example in the fingers, typically occur.

Read about this too: Vitamin B12

Carpal tunnel syndrome

The carpal tunnel is an anatomical structure on the wrist. Several tendons and the median nerve pass through it. In carpal tunnel syndrome, degenerative changes usually lead to a narrowing of this tunnel, so that the median nerve is damaged. This nerve is important for both hand movement and sensation, so that the mobility of some fingers and the feeling of touch, pressure, temperature and pain are disturbed. As a result, the thumb, index and middle finger of the affected hand can no longer be bent. In addition, the sensitivity of these fingers is disturbed, so that touching or cold and warmth on the fingers can lead to burning pain.

Read more on the subject at: Carpal tunnel syndrome or symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome

Circulatory disorder

Circulatory disorders can cause a burning sensation in the fingers, both in the case of an acute reduction in blood flow and in the case of chronic circulatory problems. The classic example is the very uncomfortable feeling when the hand or fingers have fallen asleep. This is due to a short-term squeezing or kinking of a blood vessel. If the blood now flows back into the fingers, a strong burning sensation occurs.

Chronic blood flow problems are often due to the build-up of toxins. Particularly noteworthy are circulatory disorders due to nicotine, alcohol or calcifications due to poor blood lipid values ​​or diabetes. The permanent inadequate blood flow damages a wide variety of tissues. If nerves are affected, a burning sensation can be triggered.

Read about this too: Circulatory disorders or circulatory disorders in the finger

Concomitant symptoms

Since the burning sensation in the fingers is often due to nerve damage, other symptoms associated with nerve disorders are also typical. This leads to other abnormal sensations such as numbness, tingling or severe shooting pain. The motor nerve fibers, which are responsible for controlling the muscles, can also be affected. This leads to paralysis or reduced strength in the affected muscles and fingers.

Read about this too: Everything you need to know about nerve damage

If circulatory disorders are the cause, the fingers are often white or blue, especially when you go out into the cold.

You might also be interested in this article: How to recognize an inflammation of the nerves


A reddening of the fingers that is accompanied by a burning sensation usually indicates an acute event. Redness is usually associated with inflammation. Therefore, a possible cause is, for example, an insect bite or a grip in nettles. This leads to superficial burning pain, at the same time reddening and swelling of the affected area occurs.

Inflammation can also occur in the case of polyneuropathy, for example due to diabetes (usually associated with microangiopathy = disease of the smallest blood vessels). However, these are usually the result of a chronic illness.

Pain and burning

Pain is very typical as an accompanying symptom when the fingers are burning. Most often the pain is caused by nerve damage. In this case, they usually have a burning or shooting character.

Circulatory disorders can also cause pain as a result of the tissue damage. Often, however, circulatory disorders as well as metabolic diseases and other deposits of toxins due to their damage lead to a reduced perception of pain.

Burning time

The duration of the burning sensation in the fingers depends on the underlying disease.

Metabolic and vascular diseases are chronic diseases that affect people throughout their lives. Nevertheless, the burning sensation in the fingers can be completely treated with adequate therapy.

Nerve disorders are usually progressive diseases, so symptoms can be treated for a period of time, but often recur.

Read about it: Duration of an inflammation of the nerves


  • The diagnosis of burning in the fingers can be made solely on the basis of a medical questioning of the person concerned.
  • As a rule, metabolic diseases such as diabetes and vitamin deficiencies are then examined.
  • If these are excluded, one should look for a disease of the nerves. Different qualities of perception (cold-warm, touch, vibration sensation, motor skills) play an important role.
  • Liver and kidney values ​​should also be examined if alcohol or drug abuse is suspected.

Therapy of burning sensation in the finger

Since the burning sensation in the fingers is usually due to a fundamental illness, this illness should be treated first.

  • Diabetes can be treated with insulin and anti-diabetic medication as well as a change in diet and lifestyle.
    Read about it: The right treatment for your type of diabetes
  • Vascular diseases are also treated with diet and lifestyle as well as cholesterol lowering and, in the worst case, surgery.
  • If other deposits of toxic substances are the cause, these substances should be avoided if possible.
  • In the case of deficiency symptoms, for example, the missing vitamins should be taken in the form of tablets.

Symptomatic treatment can also be used. This relies mainly on pain relievers when the burning sensation turns into burning pain. Electrical nerve stimulation can also be used as a therapy.