What Are the Most Common Causes of Forearm Tingling?

Forearm tingling has a number of possible causes, including diabetes and MS.
Tennis elbow is a condition resulting from the overuse of the wrist and forearm.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause forearm tingling.
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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 18 June 2014
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Forearm tingling can be attributed to a variety of minor and major conditions. For instance, it may be caused by tennis elbow, nerve damage, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic paresthesia or multiple sclerosis. It may also be caused by diabetes or a condition known as Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Although tennis elbow references a particular sport, it may also be caused by golfing, racquetball, weightlifting, and other exercises engaging the arms and hands. It is triggered by improper arm form when performing these tasks, as well as tight or weakened muscles in the forearm. In cases of tennis elbow, tenderness and pain are also frequently reported in conjunction with forearm tingling. When accompanied with numb forearm symptoms, however, nerve damage may have occurred.

Carpal tunnel is often characterized by tingling in the forearm. Usually, carpal tunnel will begin with a gradual but frequent burning sensation in the hand and fingers. Symptoms also appear to worsen at night. Other symptoms associated with this condition include itching and feeling as though fingers are swollen even when they are not.

As an autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) affects the central nervous system. Individuals with MS often report tingling in the forearms and legs, as well as a burning sensation at various times of the day. Other symptoms may include muscle spasms, tremors, weakness in the limbs and impaired mobility. Forearm tingling in tandem with some or all of these symptoms may be due to the onset of multiple sclerosis.

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Chronic paresthesia is frequently characterized by forearm tingling, as well as tingling felt in the hands, feet or legs. While it is common for people to experience these symptoms periodically when a nerve has been compressed by sitting in one position too long, individuals with chronic paresthesia feel it more often and, in some cases, it does not go away. When this occurs, it is generally due to severe nerve damage or a neurological disorder, such as MS or a stroke.

Diabetes may also be an underlying cause of forearm tingling, as well as tingling in the hands and feet. When diabetes is a factor, individuals will also usually report other symptoms, such as fatigue, extreme hunger, frequent urination and a loss of weight even when there has been no change in eating habits. A complete medical exam is necessary in determining if a tingling or prickling sensation in the forearms is due to diabetes.

Raynaud’s phenomenon, which commonly occurs in individuals suffering with certain forms of arthritis, may also cause forearm tingling. This is usually due to the condition interrupting circulation in various parts of the body. Raynaud’s phenomenon may be due to an underlying medical condition or it may occur randomly without a separate condition being present.

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croydon
Post 3

@browncoat - Remember that people might also be experiencing what doctors call referred pain, which means that they have symptoms in a part of their body that isn't actually the part that is injured.

The classic example is people who get pain and tingling in their left arm as a symptom of a heart attack.

Similar but not quite the same is the fact that a lot of people who type too much (or otherwise use their hands in a repetitive fashion) might feel pain or tingling in their elbow, because their fingers are worked by tendons that connect at the elbow.

So it might not be completely obvious to the average person why they are in pain or discomfort and if it continues they really should seek medical help.

browncoat
Post 2

@clintflint - That sounds like a rotator cuff injury which does mean that she needs to strengthen the muscles around her arm and shoulder, but she should work to get the inflammation down first.

A lot of problems with arms and hands and shoulders develop over time when people have bad habits that go unchecked. They don't realize what a delicate structure the arm and hands are. If anyone starts to feel numbness and tingling anywhere in their hands or arms they need to take a serious look at how they've been caring for their body. It might be time for a change.

clintflint
Post 1

Diabetes can eventually do other damage to your arms as well. My mother recently injured her shoulder badly while she was carrying something and the doctor told her it was probably because of her diabetes. She said she had a bit of arm numbness and then it just suddenly started hurting.

It's been awful for her because the pain is enough to make her gasp and double over, but the only way for it to get better is for her to strengthen the muscle.

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