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Sports Medicine

Numbness in Pinky & Ring Finger

11/30/2010

Question:

I was told the nurve in my arm is positioned on the wrong side of my elbow. I was given a heelbo to protect my elbow and told to wrap my arm with a towel & ace bandage at night to keep it straight while sleeping. Is there an exercise I could do?

Answer:

Although a medical history and physical examination are necessary to properly diagnose and treat any medical problem, from your description, it sounds as if your ulnar nerve ("funny bone") may go in and out of its bony groove along the inner side of your elbow. If this is the case, the cause is not directly due to muscular weakness, so exercise would not be expected to help.

Occasionally, the medial triceps muscle can become enlarged, which can then have the effect of pushing the ulnar nerve out of its groove. If this is the case, triceps strengthening exercises (such as dips, bench presses, push-ups, French curls, etc.) could potentially make this problem worse.

For further information, performing a search of the NetWellness website using the term "ulnar nerve" at present yields 36 "hits", among the most relevant of which are the following:

http://www.netwellness.org/question.cfm/80966.htm
http://www.netwellness.org/question.cfm/77171.htm

You should also follow-up with your physician if the appropriate initial treatment interventions for this, which you mentioned, do not provide sufficient benefit.

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Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University