Symptoms A-Z

Pale Hands Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your pale hands symptoms with Buoy, including 4 causes and common questions concerning your pale hands.

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Contents

  1. 4 Possible Pale Hands Causes
  2. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  3. Statistics

4 Possible Pale Hands Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced pale hands. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Thoracic outlet syndrome

The "thoracic outlet" is the space on either side of the base of the neck where nerves, arteries, and veins travel beneath the collarbone. If these become compressed or damaged, the condition is called thoracic outlet syndrome or TOS.

The most common causes are trauma, such as a car accident or fall; and repetition or overuse, such as a sports injury.

Symptoms vary depending on the structures being compressed:

  • Neurogenic TOS affects the nerves. It is the most common form and creates numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in the arms, hand, and fingers.
  • Vascular TOS affects the arteries and veins. It creates the same symptoms as neurogenic TOS as well as cold, pale hands and arms with weak pulse.

It is important to see a medical provider about these symptoms so that the damage does not become permanent.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, imaging such as x-ray or ultrasound, and sometimes nerve conduction and blood flow studies.

Treatment involves physical therapy, pain relievers, and sometimes surgery.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: pain in one shoulder, spontaneous shoulder pain, arm weakness, arm numbness, pain in one shoulder blade

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Raynaud phenomenon

Raynaud phenomenon, also called Secondary Raynaud syndrome, is a condition that causes small arteries in the skin to abnormally constrict on exposure to cold water or air. This limits blood flow to the hands, fingers, feet, toes, nose, and ears.

Secondary Raynaud syndrome is rare and is caused by another underlying medical condition, often a connective tissue disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, or lupus.

Women are more likely than men to be affected, especially if living in cold climates. Family history and smoking are also risk factors.

Symptoms include the hands and feet becoming numb and cold. The skin color changes from pale to bluish, and then to red as the skin warms again.

If not treated, patients may get ulcerated sores or deformities of the fingers and toes, or even gangrene, due to the lack of circulation.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and blood tests.

Treatment includes medications to help increase circulation; treatment of any underlying conditions; and lifestyle changes to gain better protection for the extremities in cold conditions.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: distal numbness, cold toe, cold fingers, spontaneous toe pain, spontaneous finger pain

Urgency: Self-treatment

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Mild frostbite of the upper limbs

Frostbite is tissue damage caused by exposure to the cold (at or below 32F or 0C). It is most commonly found in people doing leisurely activities like camping, hunting, or snow sports. It is also more likely in those who are intoxicated or have a mental disorder.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: hand numbness, hand pain, hand redness, cold hands, cold fingers

Symptoms that always occur with mild frostbite of the upper limbs: cold fingers

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Frostnip of the upper limbs

Frostnip is damage of the outermost layers of the skin caused by exposure to the cold (at or below 32F or 0C). It is most commonly found in people doing leisurely activities like camping, hunting, or snow sports.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: hand numbness, hand pain, hand redness, cold hands, cold fingers

Symptoms that always occur with frostnip of the upper limbs: cold fingers

Urgency: In-person visit

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Pale Hands

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Do you drink alcohol?
  • Do any of your body parts (e.g., toes, hands, ears) feel cold?
  • Were you recently exposed to the freezing cold (under 32F or 0C)?
  • Did you just suffer from a high impact injury (e.g., a fall, collision, accident or sports trauma)?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Take a quiz to find out why you're having pale hands

Pale Hands Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced pale hands have also experienced:

  • 8% Fever
  • 6% Fatigue
  • 6% Chills

People who have experienced pale hands were most often matched with:

  • 54% Mild Frostbite Of The Upper Limbs
  • 36% Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • 9% Raynaud Phenomenon

People who have experienced pale hands had symptoms persist for:

  • 50% Less than a day
  • 22% Less than a week
  • 16% Over a month

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Pale Hands Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you're having pale hands