numbness in fingers

martin6651martin6651 Member
edited June 2014 in General Discussion
A question for you long distance swimmers. I swim 365 days a year but during the summer months my index finger and thumb on both hands go numb. I was wondering if water is penetrating the skin and causing this to happen. I can say that it is not the cold as it does not happen during winter.
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  • SharkoSharko Tomales BayGuest
    Could be a pinched nerve caused by stroke technique.....I have had similar symptons in the right shoulder after several hours of swimming...Pts were are you??!!??

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    When I do long swims (2+ hours for me...which is short for most here), my hands will get sore after a while. To the point that during a flip-turn, I'll squeeze my hand into a fist, and my knuckles will crack. Numbness, no. Stiffness, yes.

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member
    My hands sometimes get numb at ~2 hours. I have no idea why. Shaking my arms out helps a bit.

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • Thanks for your comments. Sharko I'm swimming in Galway Bay, Ireland. IronMike I have tried the hand into a fist but it does not work. Once I'm out of the water and dry my hands the feeling returns almost immediately. I have another attempt at a 13k across the bay in August which I expect it will take 5 hours(slow and old swimmer). Have tried neoprene gloves and no help was wondering if silicone gloves would help if I kept hands dry.
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    martin6651 wrote:
    Have tried neoprene gloves and no help was wondering if silicone gloves would help if I kept hands dry.

    Is this attempt official or just for fun?

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • Its a fun swim this time so no pressure or time restraint, the last attempt was for a local cancer charity.
  • Thanks will have to see where I can get my hands on some lanolin.
  • SullySully Member
    Thoracic Outlet Syndrome - almost guaranteed.
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    martin6651 wrote:
    A question for you long distance swimmers. I swim 365 days a year but during the summer months my index finger and thumb on both hands go numb. I was wondering if water is penetrating the skin and causing this to happen. I can say that it is not the cold as it does not happen during winter.

    It could be something affecting your radial nerve in each arm. Constant repetitions could be the cause of your problem. If water is penetrating your body, you've probably got huge issues that would require a real doctor and not me playing one on the MSF forum.

    For years I battled De Quervain's Syndrome in my thumbs on both arms/hands. It's a searing pain that feels like stalks of celery cracking (does this make sense)? The pain went up to my elbows. I had special thumb braces made to immobilize them while swimming and cortisone shots. My thumbs about busted off in MIMS 1998. The problem came about because my thumbs weren't tucked in enough causing them to fluctuate up and down while pulling through the water. By far the most pain I've ever had from swimming.

  • Sully have googled Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and there is a lot of mind boggling info.
    Will keep looking. Swimmer25K during my swim I made a determined effort to keep my thumbs tightly held to rest of hand but still went numb. I don't have any of the symptoms above that might suggest De Quervain's Syndrome.
    Thank you both for your reply's.
  • tortugatortuga Senior Member
    I agree w/ swimer25k that it sounds very much radial nerve related. Do you have access to a sports physical therapist or orthopod? I think good PT training and education may do the trick.
  • Will check around to find a good one.
  • DaveypDaveyp Member
    Drink milk for the calcium (or calcium supplements, whichever you prefer) and have a banana every now and then. The potassium from bananas helps with good nervous transmission, and calcium is what causes your muscles to contract. Too much calcium, and you get twitchy, not enough and you can cramp or get numbness.
    If it does turn out to be a recurring nerve problem, seek out a chiropractor that practices ART (Active Release Technology). They deal with nerves more so than muscles and tissue when compared to other chiropractors.
  • Thanks Dave
  • CliffCliff Member
    Could be the constant forward pressure on our fingers during catch/pull phase that's causing blood to drain. This has happened to me before I started alternately closing and opening my fists on long swims. Of course, timing is everything. Don't want to have a closed fist during the catch/pull phase.
  • TimDexTimDex Member
    Dang, you mean dont close the fist on the catch/pull? Now that would explain my brick like swimming times :)

    I get numbness in my right hand after about a mile. I can shake it out pretty quickly but balling my hands into fists does not work for me. Seeing as I have sat on my fat ass for the last 20 years typing. I assumed it was something to do with my RSI that I know I must have.
    Cliff, it was an honor to check you into Chatfield on Saturday.
  • In a training session last weekend I did 3km in open water of 18 degrees with no wetsuit, afterwards for a while I noticed a numbness and tingling sensation in my left fingers. I wondered why it happened as the water wasn't very cold. After cycling home and having a hot shower it came back to normal.
    I'm new here by the way and based in the uk, this is my first post.
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