Looking for some hope.

Discussion in 'Injuries and Prevention' started by BahadZubu, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. BahadZubu

    BahadZubu Valued Member

    Happy New Year fellow mappers.

    Unfortunately I am entering 2017 with a major injury and I am really looking for some hope. I accidentally cut my upper forearm. I was taken to the ER and they sewed me up but my thumb, index, middle, and ring finger are all completely numb. As in could put them in a fire and not realise it. I went to see an orthopedics surgeon the next day who told me that my tendons seem to not have been cut because I have mobility in my fingers (though it feels quite weak) but my median nerve may have been lacerated. He said it's possible it is just bruised (though the way he said it seemed like that probably isn't the case). Though he said he will only know once I go in for surgery. So my surgery is this weds and I am hoping for good news. The doctor said if the median nerve has indeed been lacerated he will perform a nerve graft. If this goes absolutely perfectly I am looking at minimum 6-9 month recovery time.

    Anyways just curious if anyone has experienced anything similar and had stories of successful recovery? I am really nervous that my hand may never be the same as before. I also worry that even after I recover the doctor will tell me not o engage in fighting sports like boxing. I'm not sure if nerve recovery is more susceptible to impact damage or anything.

    Anyways bottom line just looking for some hope. Thanks.
  2. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    I've no experience of such an injury but wish you the very best of luck.

  3. Late for dinner

    Late for dinner Valued Member

    Some clarification might help. You mention being cut on the upper forearm. Do you mean on the palm or back side? It isn't very clear what is wrong with you from what you have described. How did you get injured? Industrial accident? Stab wound?

    Just for interest, here is a link to a description of basic problems that happen with Median nerve injuries :


    The surgeon may be keeping things simplistic to make it easier to understand what is going on. It's interesting that you mention the whole fingers being numb as the nerve typically only innervates the thumb side of the ring finger. Often some tests were done before a diagnosis is made.

    What part of the world are you in? It is usual for a surgeon to offer to do an operation so quickly where you are? Is there something else still wrong that needs immediate attention? People do things different ways in different places so it might just be the way things are done where you are.

  4. BahadZubu

    BahadZubu Valued Member

    Wow you seem to really know what your talking about. Map for the win.

    It was an accidental stab wound to the palm side (underside) of the upper forearm.

    Yes the ring finger is only numb on the thumb facing side. x-rays were done at the ER but the doctor said he will only be able to know if the nerve is cut when he opens me up.

    I am in the U.S.
  5. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    I am no medical specialist. Answering LFD's questions will probably be the most help.

    But I can tell you that I knew someone who had their major leg nerve cut- right behind the knee. What I remember being told is that nerve's re-grow, but it takes time. That sensations take a while to come back. Sorry I can't tell you a lot more, this was about 30 years ago.

    I can also tell you this, even if things aren't quite back 100%, it doesn't mean you have to give up MA's. I had a fellow student who had a stroke. He couldn't feel one side of his body. But he could move it fine. He could still do MA's, including push hands. Well, he quit anyways, and posts on Facebook about drinking, which isn't smart. But he COULD (and did for awhile) continue MA's.

    I have had injuries where Dr's have suggested to just quit. It wasn't so severe as your being cut, but I was in a lot of pain, but they still tried this nonsense. I told them that I was seeing them to get me back to doing what I loved. And if they couldn't help me with that, that I needed to know so I could find another Dr. They never brought up quitting again after that.

    I wish you all the best! Keep us posted on how you are progressing. And just don't listen to the naysayers and keep at it!

    Oh, and do whatever rehab you are assigned. Religiously! I have known people who complain they don't recover, but they didn't do the rehab.
  6. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    I once cut my instep (the upper part) on my vacasion in Africa - not a long cut, but a bit deep. I had it treated in a nearby private hospital. When I returned home, I had the stitches taken out, but a couple of days after, I still found some threads in the skin folds. After painfully pulling out one myself, I went back to the doctor with the other and then again. I found out that although it felt like I can when I didn't look, I couldn't actually lift my thumb. At all. I got a recommendation for a rehabilitation from the doctor, but as soon as I left after he pulled out the last stitch, I was able to slightly move it and than it got better by itself, so I never went there.
    From the cut down to my thumb, at first I could hardly feel any touch, later upon touch I felt pins and needles in it. For a long time, actually. Even after a couple of years, when a friend touched my thumbunexpectedly, I jumped up, startled, because the sensation was strange.
    This situation may be a bit different, but it's the only experience I can offer :)

    I hope you will recover, and hopefully soon. Best luck!

    And I also think you wouldn't need to quit MA. You should probably recover and you can always avoid the painful things. With my foot, the scar hurt me, but there was nothing that would prevent me from my school's volleyball tournament. I asked the teachers for permission if I could were sandals instead of sneakers or better shoes and with the support of my class I was allowed :)
    When I had broken my pinky toe once in a more complicated way, unable and forbidden to even try to step on it for about 7 weeks, I still participated in a big karate seminar. The doctors didn't recommend it, when I had it X-rayd a day before, but I tossed my crutches at the entrance to the gym and the teachers were understanding and proposed different exercises for me when I couldn't do much of the walking stuff :) And believe it or not, I was finally able to move the pinky better after that and my (by this time non-existent) calf muscle appeared once again! Not that it didn't hurt, it did and I was completely exahausted after the seminar, but it was worth it!
    I met a sensei with a 5 dan with paralyzed legs, practising with his upped body on a wheelchair.
    As long as you don't want to quit, I believe there will always be a way :)
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  7. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    Numbness after deep lacerations is not unusual and it may get better with time. Youth and time of repair since injury are the biggest determining factors affecting return of sensation after surgical repair, so as you're having it repaired urgently there's reason to be optimistic.
  8. raaeoh

    raaeoh never tell me the odds

    20 sumbyears ago I was playing with a new knife. I mamated to jam it so far into the palm of my hand that I actually chipped the bone! Didn't find out about the bone peice for almost 2 years. It kinda floated around the hand and managed to damage a nerve. My thumb side of.my left index.finger just went numb. Found out I had no feeling because of.a burn! Any way after a few years I got some feeling back, and today it almost like new.
  9. Latikos

    Latikos Valued Member

    I got a plate on my ulna after it was broken on two places and due to the surgery I didn't feel anything anymore on the ulna-side of my wrist (the skin; I feel locks and the such and those a bit sooner I think. But I felt them late before, so chances are, I feel them normal now...)
    That was roughly a year ago; I still don't feel anything at some small places but a it came back; on other places it feels like a weird tickle, if I touch it.
    I was told it might never be as before, because if the nerve hasn't regenerated after a year chances are slim it will at all.

    Even though my fingers aren't the problem at all, I got used to that weird sensation not to feel anything there real quick.

    Also there was no way around that up some of these nerves might get a bit damaged (no one expected it though, apparently), they're on a different place than yours, so the comparison probably isn't the best one.
  10. Late for dinner

    Late for dinner Valued Member

    There are three basic nerve injuries: a bruise, the inside of the nerve gets broken and the whole nerve gets broken. A bruise (neuropraxia) can recover but may take awhile for things to recover functionally. An axonotmesis is the partial tear and takes longer to recover. Recovery is dependent on the nerve tunnel being open for the nerve to grow back through. A neurotmesis is where there is a transection (split) and there may be some recovery but the lack of a patent tunnel means that the nerve can veer off and not get the original end organs.


    As I said before, you will have to see how things progress. In some cases the doctors might do electrodiagnostic studies to see what state the nerve is functionally. It is somewhat positive that you have motor function in your hand although it isn't clear how much normal use of your hand you have. Here is a further description of what you tend to see with a median nerve injury near the elbow :

    ''Damaged at the Elbow

    How it commonly occurs: Supracondylar fracture of the humerus.

    Motor functions: The flexors and pronators in the forearm are paralysed, with the exception of the flexor carpi ulnaris and medial half of flexor digitorum profundus. The forearm constantly supinated, and flexion is weak (often accompanied by adduction, because of the pull of the flexor carpi ulnaris).

    Flexion at the thumb is also prevented, as both the longus and brevis muscles are paralysed.

    The lateral two lumbricals are affected, and the patient will not be able to flex at the MCP joints or extend at IP joints of the index and middle fingers.

    Sensory functions: Lack of sensation over the areas that the median nerve innervates.

    Characteristic signs: The thenar eminence is wasted, due to atrophy of the thenar muscles. If patient tries to make a fist, only the little and ring fingers can flex completely. This results in a characteristic shape of the hand, known as hand of benediction.'' http://teachmeanatomy.info/upper-limb/nerves/the-median-nerve/

    Until further evaluation is done by the professionals dealing with you it is impossible to know what has actually gone wrong (other than to guess). Hopefully your surgeon will be able to clarify the situation and put your mind at ease.

    Just as an example though - I have split my calf vertically snowboarding, torn my rotator cuff during judo, ruptured my posterior cruciate ligament playing rugby , fractured multiple fingers yadda yadda and I still play rugby/ train MA regularly. Injuries have included minor nerve damage that took over a year to recover fully but made no significant impact on my training.

    So as the others have said, don't expect to get out of training just because of the injury eh! ;' ) Even if the injury would take a long time to recover there are ways around it to allow you to still train something!

  11. BahadZubu

    BahadZubu Valued Member

    I just wanted to ay thank you so much to everyone who has posted. You have lifted my spirits and helped me start thinking more positive. My surgery is tomorrow, I will update post surgery regarding what they found/did.

    Again, thanks to all who posted and thanks to this awesome forum. Really touched.
  12. BahadZubu

    BahadZubu Valued Member

    Hey All!

    I wanted to reply to this thread to update on my condition. Perhaps if someone else ever experiences this, it will be helpful to them.

    On January 4th I had surgery on my left forearm. Prior to the surgery the surgeon speculated that I had maybe just nicked or bruised the nerve because of how well I could still move my thumb. However, upon doing the surgery he discovered that my Median nerve had been completely severed. He reattached the nerve with a synthetic nerve graft, surgery took about 2 hours.

    For a month after I was in pretty bad pain. The days immediately after surgery were the worst, it felt like my whole arm was on fire.

    After 3 weeks most of the pain cleared up and I got a cast on. The cast was on another 3 weeks. I have now attended PT for about 3-4 weeks and I have regained significant mobility but still no sensation in my thumb, index, middle and half my ring finger. The surgeon suspects that will take about a year and a half. My last check up he said that after the surgery he was somewhat dismayed about my chances for recovery but now that he has done more reading and seen strong recovery he feels optimistic my hand will gain back close to normal sensation. That is the hope and I believe it will happen.

    Thanks everyone who posted on here. Best.

  13. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    I smashed both my thumbs in a motor bike accident in 2015. I was really worried I'd never recover. I still can't grip things like I used to but it doesn't hurt anymore. Very rarely I will bend it the wrong way in grappling and I might just rest and ice it for the night.

    That's probably the worst injury I've had. I feel like when I went to Thailand it healed a lot though.
  14. BahadZubu

    BahadZubu Valued Member


    OUCH! I am sorry to hear you still have a bit of trouble gripping, but the fact that you can still do BJJ and compete (and WIN NO LESS) in MMA is awesome and speaks to your tenacity. It also gives me a lot of inspiration. Thank you. The live hand is sooo important in FMA, my copa (live hand) used to be very painful for others so hoping to recover well. Boxing is less of an issue in that regard for obvious reasons.
  15. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Cheers man. I'm serious though. I couldn't hit pads at all. After that fight I barely trained. Fought at the end of October. Didn't do anything really untiL I went to Thailand. The food and weather done wonders. When I came back I could hold stuff and move my thumbs again. They aren't as strong as they used to be and they probably never will be but it's not noticeable.

    I'm sure you'll recover man. The human body is an amazing thing.
  16. BahadZubu

    BahadZubu Valued Member

    Well sounds like the warm weather helped a lot. For me the cold weather really activates my nerve and my hand only feels semi-normal when I am in a super hot bath.

    Thanks. Yes, the human body is pretty incredible indeed.

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