Bumping your “funny bone” is anything but funny. Though the pain can be excruciating, it is not caused by hitting a bone. What really happens is compression of a nerve against the bone. This nerve running from the neck to the hand is called the ulnar nerve. It innervates several muscles in the hand and forearm. Two branches at the end innervate the pinkie and half of the ring finger.
For most of its length, the ulnar nerve is protected. At the elbow, the protection is minimal, as the nerve passes through the cubital tunnel. Its only protection here is fat and skin. When you bump your elbow in just the right way, you will feel it in all the areas innervated by the ulnar nerve. Pain, tingling and numbness shoot down the forearm, into the hand, ring finger and little finger.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
The effects of irritating the ulnar nerve are usually temporary; however, in some cases, the nerve can be obstructed, causing the pain to last longer. If the nerve continues to be irritated, numbness will eventually stay. Muscle weakness may appear in the forearm, and the little finger and ring finger can be affected as well. The condition can be reversed with proper medical attention.
Pain in the elbow can also be caused by a break or fracture of one of the bones at the elbow. A sudden blow to the area can cause this. Car accidents and sports injuries are common sources of elbow fractures. You may still be able to move your elbow, even though it is fractured. If you sustain a blow to the elbow and have continuing pain, it is best to seek medical attention, especially if the area does not look right.
Swinging a toddler by the forearms looks like a lot of fun, until an elbow becomes dislocated. This condition, often called nursemaid’s elbow, happens fairly often to little ones. Elbows can also become dislocated when the bones get knocked out of place. This frequently happens to adults when falling. You stretch out your hand to catch yourself as you fall and dislocate your elbow in the process.
There are other causes for elbow pain, including wear and tear on the joint and diseases like gout and arthritis. Ongoing elbow pain should be diagnosed by a doctor to determine the source. You can expect excellent care and advanced treatment options when you choose Dr. Kerisimasi Reynolds as your orthopedic surgeon. Contact us today to schedule a consultation appointment.
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39180 Farwell Dr., Suite 110
Fremont, CA 94538
Phone: (510) 899-9200