Acute Ulnar Nerve Injury


Original Post
Malcolm Malone · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0

Hey Guys,

Yesterday I hit my right "funny bone" and now there is numbness/tingling to my last digit and to the medial aspect of my 4th digit. I'm hoping the symptoms resolve on their own (I have been icing; NSAID's), but if they don't I was wondering what your experience was with this type of injury and how it affected your climbing. Bear in mind, I have had no chronic issues with my elbow before this happened as I have always been very diligent about balancing exercises.

It has been about 15 hours and the numbness/tingling hasn't resolved on its own. Let me know what you think! Any tips on helpful exercises/stretches would be much appreciated!

Grant Gerhard · · Denver, CO · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 135

Hey Maclom, I'm just a medical student, but sounds like a case of Neuropraxia, which is almost always self resolving. I always think of it like a concussion of a single nerve, rest and positioning your elbow in a position of comfort, start to resume light activities when asymptomatic and then progress as long as no symptoms ... I'd imagine you'd have full recovery much sooner than six weeks but from wiki "Neurapraxia is a disorder of the peripheral nervous system in which there is a temporary loss of motor and sensory function due to blockage of nerve conduction, usually lasting an average of six to eight weeks before full recovery"

Malcolm Malone · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0

Awesome. I appreciate the response, Grant! That makes me feel better. Hopefully it doesn't take 6-8 weeks to heal! Good luck w/ med-school.

Grant Kendrick 1 · · Northampton, Massachusetts · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Hey Malcolm--I had the same issue arise after my hip replacement surgery a few years ago. I think it was because I was lying on my side with my arm underneath me throughout the surgery which irritated the nerve. I talked to the surgeon about it, he said it would likely resolve itself in time, which it did, although lasted for several months. It was never debilitating, just an odd somewhat disconcerting feeling. The surgeon said there was a minor surgical procedure if it didn't resolve, but it didn't come to that for me.

Good luck, hope it passes quickly!

Malcolm Malone · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0
Grant Kendrick 1 wrote:Hey Malcolm--I had the same issue arise after my hip replacement surgery a few years ago. I think it was because I was lying on my side with my arm underneath me throughout the surgery which irritated the nerve. I talked to the surgeon about it, he said it would likely resolve itself in time, which it did, although lasted for several months. It was never debilitating, just an odd somewhat disconcerting feeling. The surgeon said there was a minor surgical procedure if it didn't resolve, but it didn't come to that for me. Good luck, hope it passes quickly!
Grant, did you climb during that time?
Carla R · · San Jose, CA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 110

I was having an issue with my ulnar nerve for a few weeks about a month ago. I don't recall any impact that caused it, but if I touched it or leaned on my elbow (say, on a counter or something) it would get numb/tingle.

I ended up seeing my massage therapist who specializes in ART (active release technique) and after ~5 minutes of him focusing on it I haven't felt it since. He told me stretching my forearms (usual climber's stretches) would help also and I think it did.

Although I didn't hit mine, maybe stretching your forearms could help you as well. Good luck.

Malcolm Malone · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0
Carla R wrote:I was having an issue with my ulnar nerve for a few weeks about a month ago. I don't recall any impact that caused it, but if I touched it or leaned on my elbow (say, on a counter or something) it would get numb/tingle. I ended up seeing my massage therapist who specializes in ART (active release technique) and after ~5 minutes of him focusing on it I haven't felt it since. He told me stretching my forearms (usual climber's stretches) would help also and I think it did. Although I didn't hit mine, maybe stretching your forearms could help you as well. Good luck.
Thanks, Carla! I'll give stretching a go.
Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 265

About half a year ago, my hand/arm was going to sleep pretty often, which was disconcerting enough I went to the doc.

"Aggravated ulnar nerve", she said, and added that it takes a long time to go away once you annoy it.

She mentioned how you sleep, arms on office chairs, anything like that as a contributor. After finding it didn't go to sleep if I studiously avoided arms on chairs, I got our office ergonomic guy in, and was then allowed to have the arms removed. Chair arms, not mine.

No problems since. Did everything I usually did.

Best, OLH

Pete Spri · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 170

Vitamin B complex, important in peripheral nerve healing, especially B6 and B12. Do it!

Grant Kendrick 1 · · Northampton, Massachusetts · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Yeah, I continued to climb, though was recovering from the hip replacement, so at a relatively low level. I felt like climbing helped the numbness/tingling resolve, and I never felt like it inhibited me.

john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

Careful...mine was similar symptoms all the way to the shoulder, rapid onset. A week later I has surgery because the Ulnar was trapped

Malcolm Malone · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0

I ended up going to a chiropractor who specializes in ART. He worked on it for a while and made it feel better. He also said since it was direct trauma to the nerve that it is OK to climb on. I went to the gym yesterday and felt good. The numbness/tingling is almost gone and there's no more pain in my elbow. Yeehoo! Thanks for the comments everyone!

Carla R · · San Jose, CA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 110
Malcolm Malone wrote:I ended up going to a chiropractor who specializes in ART. He worked on it for a while and made it feel better. He also said since it was direct trauma to the nerve that it is OK to climb on. I went to the gym yesterday and felt good. The numbness/tingling is almost gone and there's no more pain in my elbow. Yeehoo! Thanks for the comments everyone!
Awesome! I love ART.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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