Believe it or Not! Pain and weakness in Wrist is Due to Nerve compression in Elbow! What?

Believe it or Not! Pain and weakness in Wrist is Due to Nerve compression in Elbow!  What?

My Rheumatologist recently suggested I go by the Hand Rehabilitation Clinic and get a splint I could wear all day, smaller than the one I use at night.

That appointment was today.She checked and measured my hand performance, exclaimed a few times, took some medical history, wrote notes, made a few "Hmmm" comments and basically said she felt I needed to see an Orthopedic hand surgeon to evaluate ELBOW! Appears the weakness in my wrist and fingers, despite the arthritis everywhere, and tendonitis, is due to compressed nerve, the Ulnar nerve, that passes through the elbow joint and extends down and across the palm of the hand.

I commented that I did have pain in my elbow if I lean on it, but worse in my wrist if I lean my head on my hand. She asked if Dr. Morrow, the Rheumy knos that. I had not ever mentioned it specifically, as I figured it was just a part of all the other arthritic joints.

She thinks, with the right treatment , over time, the nerve could regenerate itself. But slowly. After surgery. ACK!!! Could take up to a year to notice any difference and that is with using a splint on the elbow and wrist which would hold it all in place and not bend.

Well hell! The muscles in my hand have all atrophied, will they grow back? Can i function independently with one arm and hand straight out all day and night? She said I should keep my arm/elbow open-straight-while using the keyboard and mouse. Just tried that, can't see the screen!

I'm thinking of all the things I do daily that would be compromised or prohibited, with this situation. Just don't think I can give up much more of what was me.

Best to do I guess, is wait for the Rheumatologist to get her report, and call me and let me know what he wants me to do. I'm sure he will say see the surgeon, as he has suggested that for my toes previously.

Also think I will talk to my sons, the MD one, Doug and his wife, a Veterinarian, are very tuned into me and what I do.

Or, I could do none of the above, put the splints on that I have , and get on with living as I know it. Have too much to do, and lots of people, friends and family and grandchildren to be a part of my life, as it is.

Which sure is a hellof a far cry from what it was, who I was.

Excuse the cussing, I usually reserve that for when I am in some kind of quandry. Guess that's where I am.

Anyways, that's my day. Seems kind of quiet over there :) I did send you all a picture of Bridget. Not the best to show her markings, but the best one I could find in the Gallery. We'll have more at Christmas for sure.

Have heard from all the grandchildren, being available for our Christmas Party at Doug's on New Year's Day. That gives me a bit more time to bake some things. I did send two of my sons' boxes out this morning. Holy crap, it cost $15.90 to send a shoebox of cookies, etc to California!! The one to Michigan was only $4.60. From now on I will only send envelopes to Duane in California!

I'll go, my arm is cramping and your eyes should all be bloodshot by now :) Try to have some fun everyday, no matter what. OK? Love to all, Loret

16 Replies

Loretta,you poor love, i feel for you. Yes i love your cat she is really lovely,only trouble i want to cuddle her. I would be inclined to wait until the weather was better before you have any operations as then you could sit outside in the nice weather and recooperate. I will have to have my toes done in the future,i will put that off for as long as i can as it's not a nice or easy operation to do.

You go and rest and i send you my love. xxxx


Sylvie, Thank you for your kind words.

I just can't grasp another surgery and the recovery. Maybe won't have to. Maybe the Ortho doc will say he'd rather not mess with it:) Yeah right.

Hope you get to feeling good, even if you still have a cough, by Christmas Eve. Love you, Loret


Ooh, that's a tough decision. More pain now, but maybe much better later as against keeping going with pain you have now that could then get worse if left untreated. But it doesn't sound as if you need to decide straight away, so waiting a bit & talking to your family over christmas sounds like a good plan. Especially if you have a doctor in the house. Do try not to worry about it - and try to relax over the holiday period.

(I'll go at look at Bridget now as I love maincoons. It's morning here now so maybe you posted after I'd closed my computer down for he night - I'm not a night owl like sylvi.) Px


Thanks Polly, your words of wisdom hit the situation spot on. I don't guess it would be wise to ignore, IF the surgery could allow the nerves to regenerate and hand function to improve. Thing is, I walk with a walker, would find that impossible to do with only one hand after surgery, think I would be likely walking around in circles! Oh heck! Time for my second coffee and then want to make a couple loaves of cinnamon bread to give to friends, then MUST get the Christmas Cake put together tonight, so it has time to mellow for a few days.

Thanks for all your encouragement and enlightening words, You are good at that! Love you, Loret


not by choice Helix, i wish i could stay in bed. Its 4.20pm here in the midlands. xxx


I have just calculated, you are 7 hours ahead of me! It was 11;20am when it was 4:20 pm there. And now we know.


That's really interesting Loret because at present I have only got RA stuff going on in my fingers, wrists and sometimes elbows now, which like yours mostly only feel sore if I lean on them (one way to stop bad mannered table manners eh?!). I have terrible pain in my wrists and have done for ages. Initially I thought it was a repetitive strain thing because its where all this seemed to start a year ago - although it did seem coincidental that my knees were very painful too? A locum GP told me that it was carpal tunnel syndrome beginning and I had to stop playing badminton with my friend and wear splints sometimes to rest them up - ice packs, ibuprofen gel etc.

But recently I've been going to the physio to try and sort out my fingers and a very swollen knuckle/ tendonitis and remembered seeing her before to try and sort out an acute case of tennis elbow about 3 years ago and have always felt that these things were connected because the pain was the same. I can't wear splints anymore because they overlap onto the knuckles below my fingers and rub them and make them really hurt. But this idea of elbows being at the root of things is very interesting to me.

Re the op - I think if it were me I'd have it if it was going to relieve my hands of some/ all of this discomfort and pain/ stiffness/ swelling as I find it's really getting me down re clumsiness, basic chores etc. But I can see being so imobilised afterwards would be very difficult for you - so can see why you think it might be easier better to carry on. In my case I'm finding things like driving, opening doors etc increasingly hard now that I might be better sparing myself from even trying by having the op but would want to plan it all very well so that I knew when and for how long i would be unable to do things with this arm for.

Not an easy decision I can see but at least it sounds as though your rheumy is very forward thinking to have spotted this. Mine just put me on methotrexate and told me it would cure my immovable fingers eventually. But this is NHS which is always over stretched and he probably wouldn't have time in the day to give me any more time or thought than the most basic- the disadvantages of a state health system.

Yes ask your family as they sound as though they would help you make this decision very well indeed.

Must dash - got two bathrooms to clean and a trip to the airport to collect oldest son returning from university for ten days not to mention dog to walk etc!

Take care Tilda x


Oh wow Tilda, You are the first person I've known that has played badminton. I did that for years in my neighborhood, especially the teen years. We had lots of competition, I can't believe, looking back, at how good I was. I seldom let that little birdie fall! Was as lythe and limber as possible. Maybe that's why I got arthritis in the spine first. It was funny, because my older brother would get his buddies together and want to play me and another girl in our back yard. My Mom could hardly get us to come in for meals, so sometimes she brought a tray of sandwiches and lemonade and sat at the picnic table and watched us.

Kids these days have no clue what they are missing. Suppose they'll look back at their childhood days and remember days they sat and played their DS's together? Pitiful.

Thanks for the encouraging words. I know how you must be so anxious to have your son back home. Enjoy. Have a wonderful, fun, Christmas. Love you, Loret


Hey Loret up here in Orkney (North East of Scotland) badminton is alive and flourishing. All three of my sons have played for County and that's no mean feat when you consider that the standard of Scottish badminton is pretty high! They all gave up at a certain age when it got horribly stressful and competitive and I kept having to drive them down to the back of beyond (Dingwall - sorry if you read this Williby!) in the depths of winter for U15 Scottish opens and such-like. But I used to have to watch them at training endlessly on wintry Sunday nights and have people to stay from neighbouring Shetland. So I would listen to all the training tips and then apply them to myself when playing my 6'2 friend who only had to lift her arm to reach the shuttle wherever it went on the court. I got really sneaky at little drop shots and whacking them straight at her!

Then last winter I'd find my knees and ankles were painful for days after playing once a week - beyond normal stiffness you know but then I was terribly overweight so assumed it was just that. And then my wrists started going the same way and from then onwards it was a downwards spiral until RA diagnosis.

But I tell you what I'm much fitter and thinner now than I was this time a year ago because when the RA kicked in I lost my appetite (shock?!) and then I started walking the dog further to keep my weight bearing joints mobile so they didn't stiffen up. Now in the summer months I know of three people with RA in this area who pass me walking briskly so I don't think it's just me but I know I'm lucky it's never returned to my knees for months now and put some of this down to the Nintendo Wii and dog walking and eating very little compared to what I used to consume.

And my son is just home and full of the joys of Edinburgh life and his uni course and new friends. It's lovely having him here again and he was helping me wrap up presents because I know how but fingers won't behave whereas he has fingers but doesn't know how! And he's been telling me how he now plays badminton for his university having not touched a racket for about four years - brilliant! He says the Chinese students are phenominally good and dominate the team and how Olympic badminton is always won by the Asian countries. Take care and have a great Christmas yourself - Tilda xx


I don't think Badminton ever caught on here on a national level. We have a hard time getting the kids on a Soccer team. There are many, in other towns, but Bellevue, Ohio is strictly Football, Basketball and Baseball for the boys and Softball for the girls. They always have listings at the top of the Districts other teams.


That's interesting - I think of badminton as a winter sport and you need to have a proper court with the right lines, net etc if it's played properly. The boys' coach always said it was the most intellectual of the racket sports and people with high IQs usually dominate at a higher level because it's all about strategy as well as fitness - a bit like an athletic chess?!

And like tennis you need equal numbers boys and girls to make up a team for mixed doubles etc so it's good for both sexes. I think it's just that our kids and my hubby are naturally good at racket sports and badminton and squash are both played here, but not tennis at all - unlike England and presumably the States. Tennis isn't big in Scotland at all really so it's pretty amazing that it produced Andy Murray!

Football is big up here too but rugby and swimming are the local sports that traditionally make it into the National leagues beyond just island level. We have one of Britain's top triathlon players coming over in an hour to coach our middle son for chemistry tonight. This chap went to Oxford uni to do a Masters in Chemistry and is just back and he's so modest and unassuming you would never know he was this multi-talented person. But there's evidence that being good at sport or at music (or both) sharpens the brain. Apart from being okay at racket sports I'm rubbish at most sport but I do really miss playing badminton it was such fun!


Oh so agreed. I have often missed playing. Tennis is very big here. I have encouraged the boys and grandchildren to atleast learn tennis as a life-time sport. You are more likely to play tennis at 50-60 or more, than football, etc :)

Good to have such a talented tutor! Chemistry was my and my son Doug's major study. Then I got into Microbilogy and he went onto Medical school. Can't go wrong studying any of the Sciences! They will always be there and jobs to fill. Also true of music. Band students are usually Honor Roll students.


Hi again Loret - by bizarre coincidence I used Channel 4oD (watch again type thing here?) to watch a programme which had my cousin's son on it. I missed it last Thursday when at choir practice and my hubby and the boys were excited to tell me all about it when I got home. It's about a group of four British teenagers who go over to the States to stay with various orders of Amish and sample and learn from their contrasting way of life. Last year it was the other way around with Amish youngsters coming to Britain. Well this time round they were staying in Ohio and it looked so lovely - but then it always does look so lush and idylic - a contrast to everything we experience here just now - not just the culture but the rolling hills and the sunshine and trees, fields etc all look gorgeous. My cousin, who I barely know now, has a son at a really posh school here called Eton and I found her as alien and bewildering as the Amish - probably more! TTx


Tilda, I know of that program! The Ohio location of the Amish is around the Wooster, Ohio area, and really is lovely, very scenic. Everyone wants to go to take pictures.

Here, one of the things virtually every woman wants to do, is take a trip to Amish country, go shopping, mostly to buy Amish made sausages, and Cheese and baked goods. Aw, their homemade bread is soo heavenly! There is a restaurant there named "Der Dutchman" where everyone is seated at long tables and served family style. Heaped platters of their famous fried chicken, huge bowls of mashed potatoes and chicken gravy, fruit salads, oh just on and on.

There is a large barn-type building there called the Cheese Factory, there are countless kinds of chees, all cut in small cubes for sampling. The Swiss Chees is especially good, but they have so many variety cheeses and cheese spreads to put on all kinds of crackers. Then they have the Baked Goods section, Ohmygoodness! They usually have a quick sale counter, where you might find Blackberry pie, or Apple-Raisen pie or cherry pie,etc for about 1/3 the price it was just the day before. We usually head there first if we get there before noon. Which we do, so we can have lunch at the "Der Dutchman".

It is indeed a wonderful,but long, exciting day.

Some people go and make it a 2-3 day trip, and stay over at motels. But one day is exhausting enough! The other drawing attraction, and how the Amish women support their families, is the sale of handmade quilts, tablecloths, pillows, much handworked embroidery pieces, some of them for framing. These are displayed on the beds in their houses, Stacks of quilts on each bed, you can lift a corner to see them and then ask for help if you really want to see the whole quilt. They are lovely and I'm sure treasured, but the price is a stopper! $4,5or6 hundred dollars!

The older men who don't farm the land or take care of cattle, do woodworking, including making gorgeous, sturdy furniture. Many people like to have atleast one piece of furniture, styled like antiques, mostly kitchen tables and cupboards.

So now you have had a virtual tour of Amish Country! It's only about 45 mins to an hour from here, so many from this area make it an annual event. It does require alot of walking, so I have been there only once since I have been using a walker.

Well, my goodness, wouldn't it be delightful to put us all in one room and just talk and talk and talk. Actually, I write a whole lot easier! Cheers! Loret


my hands and for arms feel weak and they hurt along with certain fingers on both hands


I am having this same time of pain after having been in car accident. Hearing from someone else about the same issue helps.


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