I fell bouldering and the little-finger side of my ring finger has gone numb from the first joint to the tip. I can move something around on the bottom part of the knuckle that makes it tingle even more. That area also seems a bit larger (lumpy) than the right ring finger. I’m guessing it’s a compression of the ulnar nerve, but what exactly can I do to get the numbness to go away? Is it OK to climb? I’ve stopped for two weeks.
—PTHOMAS119, Rock and Ice Forum
Shabam! You must have given it quite a whack. A direct hit to the nerve is possible, but it sounds more like a traumatic ganglion cyst
has formed and that it is pressuring the nerve, causing the numbness.
The digital nerve that runs down that side of the ring finger is a branch of the ulna nerve. (The median nerve supplies the other side of the ring finger).
You have a couple of options: 1) Wait and see how it goes. I am impatient by nature when it comes to medicine and recreational drugs in that I like results,
the faster the better, but give it at least another week to settle. 2) If you can isolate that lump (it will feel like a pea), give it a good press
and see if it pops like a water balloon. That will solve the problem with a level of immediacy that would satisfy even the rich and famous.
OMG! You call yourself a climber? There is not even any blood! Get back on the horse and ride it like you’re the Pony Express. The numbness will be mildly
irritating but that’s about it. If anything, the cyst may enlarge, but I would argue that that just makes it easier to isolate and burst. If the numbness
is due to damage done by direct impact, it will probably subside over the next month. Permanent numbness is pretty unlikely.
This article was published in Rock and Ice No 217 (April 214).