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Old 08-23-2007, 01:03 PM   #1
Jason Naubur
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Tingling in my pinkie finger.

Lately I have been getting a tingling in my little fingers when I have my elbows bent at even a slight angle (typing, holding a coffee etc.). I have noticed it before (before I started Crossfit) but now it is happening more frequently.

I am guessing it is the Ulnar nerve getting irritated, but I don't know how to alleviate that. I tried stretches from various websites, but the only thing that helps is not working out for a week or two, at which point it is gone for the most part until I hold them up for extended periods (video games mostly).

My benefit payments for a Physiotherapist have run out so if I can find a solution here I would be grateful.


Thanks,

Jason
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Old 08-23-2007, 02:03 PM   #2
Ben Kaminski
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Re: Tingling in my pinkie finger.

Could it be carpal tunnel? Just a shot in the dark.

If it is the ulnar nerve, I'm not sure what you could do about it. I would say review your pushup, dip, and bench press form to make sure you're not causing it through bad form. Also, getting stronger in your pushing muscles might make it go away, but it could make it worse, too...

Can you avoid pushing movements with that arm and it will go away? If so, no reason you have to stop working out, just work around it.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-25-2007, 08:33 AM   #3
Leslie Powell
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Re: Tingling in my pinkie finger.

It's a pain in the *** to do this in practice, but it might be worth seeing a doctor to try to find out where the nerve is being compressed (this could be anywhere from your neck to your wrist). There's a thing called "double crunch" which is a theory that a nerve compressed in one place (say your neck) is more sensitive to compression elsewhere (elbow).

The spot where you feel pain/numbness/weakness is pretty unrelated to where the actual problem is. It may be that lots of elbow flexion is exacerbating a problem that's located elsewhere.
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Old 08-25-2007, 11:43 AM   #4
Steven Bourdage
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Re: Tingling in my pinkie finger.

Leslie is right on, but you need to stretch out your wrist flexors and extensors a couple of times a day. Also work on strengthening your wrist extensors. Most people are flexor dominant and the imbalance can create some dysfunction.
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Old 08-25-2007, 02:16 PM   #5
Maki Riddington
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Re: Tingling in my pinkie finger.

You might also want to look at the scapula and surrounding muscles around the shoulder. Soft tissue adhesions and/or restrictions can be a cause.
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Old 08-25-2007, 03:23 PM   #6
Ken Mindoro
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Re: Tingling in my pinkie finger.

Jason, do a google search for "cubital tunnel syndrome." It is the second most common peripheral neuropathy of the upper extremity (after carpal tunnel syndrome).
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Old 08-26-2007, 09:37 PM   #7
Kevin King
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Re: Tingling in my pinkie finger.

A few thoughts and questions:

Does the tingling extend to the half of your ring finger closest to your pinkie finger? Is your hand involved at all? Do you notice weakness in your terminal grip strength (the last bit of grip that you engage to really cinch down on something... kinda makes some muscles bulge between the bones of the back of your hand)? If so, you probably have an ulnar nerve entrapment./cubital tunnel syndrome. The ulnar nerve is the nerve that provides sensation to those fingers mentioned above and gives you that terminal grip strength. The "funny bone" is actually your ulnar nerve and when you smack it just right you get that electrical, tingling pain down your hand.

Regardless, I recommend you seek care for this. Sometimes, some simple physical therapy and other modalities can help. However, if you develop significant weakness you will need surgery. In the meantime, stop doing those things that aggravate it.

Hope you get to feeling better.

-- Kevin

Last edited by Kevin King : 08-26-2007 at 09:39 PM.
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Old 08-27-2007, 07:21 AM   #8
Jason Naubur
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Re: Tingling in my pinkie finger.

Lots of good info. The sensation is almost entirely the pinkie, if it is on the ring fingers then it is very faint. Even on the little fingers it can be a very slight sensation.

I don't see any loss of grip strength. I don't seem to get this from a workout, but after an 'arm intensive' workout it happens quicker when doing an activity that aggravates it. Holding a coffee will be a hard one to stop...

Sounds like I should see my PT. I will report what she says when I see her.


jason
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Old 08-27-2007, 12:33 PM   #9
Cal Jones
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Re: Tingling in my pinkie finger.

I've had this, and part of it is that I lean on my left eblow when using the PC. I even have a massive, hard to shift callus on that elbow. Using a soft pad thing on the desk has helped quite a bit.
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Old 08-27-2007, 01:01 PM   #10
Jason Naubur
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Re: Tingling in my pinkie finger.

I get the feeling that this symptom can stem from a number or issues.

I managed to get in to see my PT today due to a cancellation - here is what happened.

After describing the symptoms, she proceeded to perform a number or little tests on my arm and grip strength. For instance, pushing down on my arm with me trying to not let my arm down.

After a bit of this she said that it was my 7th nerve (eight come out of your neck and intertwine down your arm.) It was getting pushed on somewhere affecting the Ulnar nerve (responsible for pinkie, half of ring finger). After checking for joint problems (none for me!), she determined that the tightness of my pecs were pushing on the core nerves out of my neck - they run behind the pecs. And here I was so proud of my tight pecs .

So she did some deep tissue massage on my right pec (ouch). After about 7 minutes, she did one of the test she did previously and the right was now significantly stronger. Kind of bizarre what a little nerve pressure can cause.

She advised me to see a sports massage clinic to work on the pecs at least twice before seeing her in 1.5 weeks. Prescribed me a pec stretch, nerve stretch and a trap stretch. Also she noted that I tend to have tight pecs pulling my shoulders forward which makes this worse. I need 'active' shoulders (back and down) all the time.

Sorry for the long post. Hopefully in a few weeks I will be free of this irritating tingling feeling.


Jason.
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