Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Elbow FAQ


I'm starting to have elbow pain with numbness and tingling down my forearm. Sometimes it feels like the whole arm is asleep. What could be causing this? Is it serious?


There are three main nerves that pass by the elbow and go down the arm to the hand and fingers. The nerves go through the soft tissues and can get pinched or trapped under a ligament or between two muscles.

Ganglion cysts, tumors, and repetitive overuse are other possible causes of pressure on the nerves. Sometimes narrowing of the hole where the nerve comes out of the neck can give these same symptoms. This is more common in the aging spine.

Posture can make a difference. Slumped shoulders, rounded upper back, and a forward position of the head can put pressure on the nerves. A medical exam is probably needed to get to the bottom of your problem.

Brian T. Fitzgerald, MD, et al. Functional Outcomes in Young, Active Duty, Military Personnel after Submuscular Ulnar Nerve Transposition. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. July 2004. Vol. 29A. No. 4. Pp. 619-624.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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