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Old 12-23-2007, 09:40 PM   #1
Megan Greene
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ulnar nerve subluxation/snapping tricep?

When I do dips or triceps pushups, I have recently been feeling a popping/snapping in my left elbow on the way down, at about 130 degrees, at the cubital tunnel. I mentioned it to my PTist, who told me to stop when that happens. Ok, but how do I keep it from happening? It feels like a nerve subluxation or dislocation; it is a "twangy" feel, like hitting your funny bone. But I haven't gotten an official dx yet. Everything I could find online about ulnar nerve subluxation only listed surgery as a solution. I have strong forearms and grip from handstands and trapeze, and I've been working my extensors for a few months to try to balance things out, and in hopes that these muscles will help stabilize the nerve. But I don't know if they really do that. So far no improvement regarding my elbow.

Does anyone have any experiences with this?

(By way of background, my elbows hyperextend (and grind/click/mutter as they do it), my shoulders sublux, I've gone through three ACLs so far, I have snapping hips, and all in all my body does not seem to like to hold its joints together.)

Last edited by Megan Greene : 12-23-2007 at 09:46 PM. Reason: added more info
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Old 12-24-2007, 07:03 AM   #2
Xavier Iturriagagoitia
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Re: ulnar nerve subluxation/snapping tricep?

I am having the same problem at the moment.
Keep you arm straight as often as possible (especially when sleeping). This relieved some pain for me. Next workout I will do shrugs and lateral raises instead of bench & overhead press (to not bend elbow too much).

Also the stretches on this site seem to help a bit: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00069

But obviously the safest is to visit a doctor.
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Old 12-26-2007, 11:15 PM   #3
Yong Tang
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Re: ulnar nerve subluxation/snapping tricep?

are you an athlete? snapping triceps is a pretty uncommon syndrome that I too have. It happens at 90 degree elbow flexion however. Do a simple test and go through the entire rom for elbow flexion and place your other hand at the elbow while doing so. If something pops out of place going through flexion then it's probable that it's snapping triceps. Subluxation of the ulnar nerve can be a result of snapping triceps, since their pathways are intertwined. There have been many surgeries done with incorrect diagnosis of the problem which led surgeons to operate on the nerve itself as opposed to the medial triceps because it's still a new case, so there may be a chance your orthopedist may not be too familiar with your problem.

Do you get the twangy feeling at the fingertips? If so, stop all elbow flexion movements, as it will only get worse with training. That's the best thing you can do at the moment.
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