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    Fingers: Numbness

    20-Oct-2009
    By

    Over the last couple of weeks my left pinky finger has gone numb, and there's a spot on my left wrist (palm up, right side, where the hand begins and the bone sticks out a little) where even the softest tap provokes pain through the pinky and ring finger. I can move the pinky, but it's asleep 24/7. No loss in strength. If I clench a tight fist, it gets a little feeling back. I took a week off and it's getting worse instead of better. Thoughts?

    I ride my bike every evening about 12 miles, on road. No impact machinery, no trauma I know of, and yes, there is numbness on the little finger side of my ring finger, too.

    ryanpseudo
    rockandice.com Forum

    Wow. That's cool. You don't see this very often. Maybe once every couple of years. This is most commonly a cycling injury, and is known as handlebar palsy. Bonus points, though, for trying to save the planet.

    The ulna nerve passes through a tunnel made up of two bones in the wrist -- the pisiform and the hamate -- and, beyond this point, it supplies feeling and strength to the pinky and half of the ring finger. The tunnel is divided into three zones. Depending on where the nerve is compressed, you can get grip weakness, numbness or a combination of both.

    Given your pain pattern and history, it is highly likely that purely as a result of cycling you have chronically compressed the nerve as it passes through this tunnel. This has subsequently led to inflammation that is now maintaining the problem through a more insidious pressure.

    Given the wrist pain you describe, rheumatoid arthritis is a distinct, though unlikely, possibility.

    First, I would try grabbing that little boney thing (your pisiform bone) on the little finger side of your wrist. Slowly, but firmly, move it from side to side for five minutes several times a day. I want you to create a little space for the nerve, and encourage that inflammation to be on its way. Initially the articulation will be quite uncomfortable, but this should subside reasonably quickly. Second, change the way you grip the handlebars, or change handlebars, bar ends, etc. Putting pressure on that part of your wrist is a no-no.

    Occupational overuse injury can cause a ganglion cyst to form in the tunnel, putting pressure on the nerve. If you chronically stress your wrists at work, and the pain does not subside, it would be advisable to get an MRI.

    The ulna nerve can be impinged in a few other places. None are especially likely given your wrist tenderness, but if it persists, shoot me a heads-up on the rockandice.com forum and I'll give you some more direction.

     

    RELATED ARTICLES

    Arthritis

    Blown Tendons

    Cortisone and Tendon Injuries

    Cracked Fingertips

    Finger Cysts

    Finger Cysts and Pain

    De Quervains Tenosynovitis

    Finger Electrostimulation

    Flappers

    Grip Position and Injury

    Hyper-Extended Finger

    NSAID Treatment

    Pinky Finger Pain

    Finger Stiffness and Soreness

    Finger Taping Truths

    Torn A2 Finger Pulley

    Torn A3 and A4 Finger Pulleys

    Trigger Thumb Syndrome

    Trigger Finger Syndrome

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