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The NOT so Funny Bone- Ulnar Nerve Entrapment
The NOT so Funny Bone- Ulnar Nerve Entrapment

The funny bone is not actually a bone at all. It is a nerve that is nestled in a groove at the elbow.

It stretches and relaxes with the movement of the elbow, happy and content in his little nook. The ulnar nerve is in charge of sensation in the ring and small fingers as well as works the fine motor muscles in the hand, like crossing your fingers.

Sometimes, with no fault of our own, the ulnar nerve (the funny bone) will get angry, swell, become irritated, and will no longer fit in its home. It starts to get tight and constricted in its now too small setting. It becomes HULKed out, and NO one likes a nerve when it’s angry.

When a nerve becomes angry it can cause numbness, tingling, and at times burning or shooting pain in the ring and small fingers and sometimes the whole arm.

There are a few ways to attempt to calm the nerve down:

  • Limiting flexion of the elbow which decreases the stretch on the nerve.
  • Avoid leaning on the elbow; that could squish the nerve.
  • Keep the elbow straight at night while sleeping.
  • NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines)

If these things don’t work on taming the beast, you should see a doctor to see about further treatment options, tests and the possibility of surgery.

Author: Stephanie Jones, AT