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View Full Version : Odd hand and arm numbness


Amy Crawford
01-03-2008, 08:36 PM
As some background ... almost 10 years ago I was a semi-professional mountain bike racer for a few years. I had some mild nerve issues (mostly carpal tunnel) which resolved themselves after rest and adaptation. I haven't been riding in months, so I know it's not bike related.

I've found over the last year or so, and especially in the last 2 months, that my arms and/or hands can go numb, or partially so, with only mild elbow flexion. For example, I was reading at the computer earlier, and had my elbows on my mid-torso-level desk, fingers loosely laced. I noticed after a few minutes that my inner elbows were getting that funky pre-numb feeling.

While sleeping I can no longer put my arm above my head. Nor can I sleep in a true fetal position with arms curled up. I have to have my elbows almost completely extended.

I'm 37 and while I was hospitalized for pull up induced rhabdo back in August, this started before that.

It's annoying. Any thoughts?

Steven Low
01-03-2008, 09:16 PM
It sounds like when you bend your arm something in the joint impinges on the nerve causing the numbness (well, impingement doesn't necessarily cause pain so yeah). Unfortunately, I don't know of anything specifically that can get of this. Maybe someone else will chime in (if they know more).

Cal Jones
01-04-2008, 04:07 AM
Probably not the same thing but I tend to lean heavily on my elbows when using the computer, and have in the past noticed my little and ring finger on my left hand would start to go numb. I figured I was putting some pressure on one of the nerves in my elbow that went down to my hand, so invested in one of those elbow rest pad things.
It may be something similar to that, especially if you use the computer a lot. I'd be inclined to see a physio, though - they will be able to give you a better handle on what's happening.

Chuck Haggard
01-22-2008, 11:34 AM
I have similar issues. I have both carpal tunnel and arthritis in both elbows. The arthritis causes the problems from the elbow down, and makes my carpal tunnel angry.
My PT tells me that when a nerve gets irritated closer to the spine that it can be more susceptible to irritation on down the chain. I solved a problem in my right arm/hand by dealing with a nerve impingement that was occurring in my right trap area.

Mary Everett
01-23-2008, 08:07 PM
It sounds like your ulnar nerve is involved. That is the same nerve that is commonly involved with a lot of biking. It would be seen in the hands with a numb pinky and half of the ring finger. The other two main nerves in your arm would be more stressed in the fully extended position of the arm. An easy way to test the ulnar nerve (if it is "tight") is to make that "owl face" where you take your hand and invert it with your index finger and thumb in a circle around your eye. Even when I do this, my pinky starts to go numb. Nerves can get tight like muscles. If this is the only problem (and that hasn't been determined yet) then there is some called "flossing" you can do to try and get the nerves moving better in their tracks. Tight muscles, poor posture, etc could also be to blame.

Chuck Haggard
01-26-2008, 11:04 AM
There are low level stretches that my PT refers to as nerve glides that have helped me quite a bit. Sort of a stretching program for your nerves.