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Finger cramp and arm pain

Kris-NYKKris-NY Posts: 2,207
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:49 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Three months ago I fell and fractured my elbow. According to the orthopedist the bone has healed.

But my elbow still hurts. I have aches and weakness above and below that I did not have prior to the injury. In that same time I have been having incidents where my index finger will suddenly cramp. It pulls in all the way to my palm and I can't move it. I have a severe pain in my forearm at the same time. These incidents only last 1-3 minutes but I can also have some pain and tightness in my hand and forearm for a few minutes up to an hour after.

I have told my neurologist about the pain and cramping. He has documented it but doesnt want to do any testing. He says that the finger problem is cramping and that eating fruit at bedtime will cure this (?????).

I have to say that after two visits and with the pain and cramping increasing I feel like there should be something more. I did have some cervical herniations but never had finger issues before the fall. So my feeling is that there was nerve or tendon damage at the elbow. Wouldnt it make sense to do an EMG or send me to a hand specialist who could better diagnose this?

Any thoughts would be appreciated. I am really doubting my doctor but don't want to.


  • You might consider going to a sports orthopedist to get this looked at. You might have either injured your radial nerve, or scar tissue in the elbow could be entrapping your nerve off and on.

    After an exam, they usually do and NCV/EMG - not common for them to MRI the elbow. Mine did the electrical testing and x-rays. After a full exam, he determined I had Cubital Tunnel syndrome, and too Guyon's (ulnar trapped in the wrist and hand). Until about 8 months ago, the surgery did its job. I've now lost C7/T1, and lost it all again...sigh. (G)

    I still have issues throughout C5-C8, and all my fingers cramp - can not tie it to things I do yet to get it started. When my index cramps, mine too cramps hard and inward straight. 65% of the time, the index drags the middle finger along with it. also with mine, the cramping can last 30 seconds to 15 or so minutes! Please let us know what you find out. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • So many puzzles on this nerve stuff, but I'll tell you fhrom what I've been getting more inconsistencies and yet more puzzle pieces with the medical specialists!!

    Kris, so sorry to hear from beginning to now of what has been unfolding for your elbow and finger cramping and how much the Drs. thus far have not figured out what is going on and with more definitive symptoms have not taken this more seriously for you.

    Brenda, sooooo glad you are here and the expertise you have with this neuro stuff (and God bless you have earned it on many levels, wish it wasn't your first-hand experience with this nerve and muscle and have excelled in knowing at times more than most doctors we are seeing!!)

    Your suggestion to Kris to seek out a sports orthopedic doctor/surgeon - - what a good idea, believe they are truly a cut-above the general ortho and could give the wider view and more in-depth injury such as you have had, as well as post-op scar issues! kudo's Brenda !

    Kris, I really got upset when I heard what your ortho told you, seriously "eat fruit before you go to bed" uhhhh what the - - - -???!!! And he's still practicing as a bone/joint physician !?! You know I want us to start a new post,"And You Doctor Said What" ???@!@!!

    Sure hope you land an appt. with an ortho that takes his patients seriously and is dedicated to resolving neuro-muscular problems with elbows and knows exactly what is going on with your finger cramping...AND takes the lead over all of them, knowing what can be done to fully resolve it!!

    Kris, you deserve no less and the time and the endurance you have had - - enough!!

    You should be able to find a good one in your area,
    will see that unfolding for you!


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  • Thanks! Unfortunately I've learned more about nerves and spines and all that more than I ever thought I would in this lifetime! (G)

    Since Kris, you have a trauma history, that is why I was focusing on a sports orthopedist, and too your elbow area. The other area they may look at is your shoulder as you did fall and block the fall, and as such could have transmitted all the way up to your shoulder without realizing it.

    The sports orthopedists, or in my case sport orthopedist surgeon are more use to dealing with trauma related issues than a regular orthopedic doctor. And yeah, "fruit before" bedtime, I almost fell out of my chair! Wow! Support *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • It was the fruit advice that really threw me. I mean I know that diet can help with certain pain. But when I have had a recent injury that could contribute to this problem I just find it odd that he doesnt want to check it out.

    Oh and this is my neurologist....I would think he would be better than an ortho since this seems to be a nerve problem.

    Right now the back of my arm right above my elbow hurts. Its a deep ache.

    I will make some calls today to find a hand surgeon. Brenda I'm with you that there must be something going on at the elbow. I have also wondered if it is actually coming from my shoulder. It would make sense since my arm was completely straight when I went down.

    ughh another doctor....
  • Oh Kris I am so sorry to hear that you have to go to another Dr...you would think that you have enough but you deserve to be out of pain!! I also ditto the sports med dr. They are usually very educated in these kinds of matters!!

    I will be waiting to hear what you find out my Friend!!
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  • A funny thing happened. I came home from shopping and there was a message on my machine from my neurologist. He apologized for being distracted yesterday..said he wasn't feeling well. I know the patient after me was in really bad shape..they sent him/her to the hospital by ambulance. So maybe he knew they were coming and that it would be bad??

    After thinking about it overnight I am going to wait until January. In the mean time I can keep track of what is happening so I have better info. When I see him in January I will see if he wants to do something or if he can send me to someone.

    Thanks for your responses. I still think the fruit thing is crap...lol.
  • Sorry Kris- You poor thing >:D<
    That was nice that he called. The fruit thing is what my mom used to tell me :)

    I have been having pretty intense elbow pain the last week or so (it is worse when I wake up- I think I am sleeping wrong or it is because if my muscle relaxer med change). At any rate yesterday evening my right hand (same hand as the elbow) closed up and I tried for several seconds to open my hand/fingers. I started to panic and then suddenly it released and popped open.

    I think keeping track of the arm/elbow issues is a great idea. Documented history is what they really need to help them- help us.

    Feel Better,


  • Hey Kris, I`m glad he called back and apologized. He must have recalled what he had said to you, and must have been truly embarrassed to call you back! I've never had my index finger cramp, but my pinky and ring fingers cramp all the time, they curl right up and it hurts like hell to try to straighten them, but I'm pretty sure that is cervical related. Hope they get it figured out for you! I would also think it must have something to do with your elbow, if you didn't have it before, but who knows, the fall could have jolted something in your neck as well. Hope it doesn't get any worse while you're waiting for them to figure it out. Oh, and don't forget to eat some fruit, too #o
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • Howdy Kris,

    When my ulnar issues arose in my arm, since it was a "nerve" thing, I too thought my NS would deal with it. Nope, "I work on areas directly related to the spine." The neurologist he sent me too? He did the NCV/EMG and sent me to the Orthopedic sports surgeon! This doctor was cool as he worked on several in my office, and they all had nothing but good to say about him, and they were right!! :)

    Please let us know how it goes Kris. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • :D Hello again!!
    It is strange that you didn't have the cramping problem until after the broken elbow. I have daily spasms and cramps in my arms,they think still coming from my neck. I think i told you before that my elbow would cramp up so badly that i needed my other arm to pull it back down to a straight position.My neurologist had nerve testing down to make sure i didn't have ulnar nerve problems or any other nerve problems in my arms. I have also had such things recommended to me.Mainly tonic water for spasms,its supposed to have something in it to calm down muscles. I tried it but found that i needed to drink the whole bottle to get any affect from it at all.That suggestion didn't come from my doctors though that was from my physio therapist.lol. I think if my doctor had recommended it i would have been asking why???? :? Good luck with the next apt. hopefully it can give you a better indication of whats going on there.
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