Tuesday, June 2, 2009

nancy drew and the case of the numb arm

may 2009 - month #2 in kentucky. moved to a new town, new hotel, new co-workers. started adding in long runs again to prepare for nyc training. almost half of the month's miles (60.17) were run on the lovely treadmill. began putting up with heat and humidity in the latter part of the month in attempts to get "used" to it sooner.

total mileage: 147.12 (30 miles less than april? what???)
time spent running: 21:27:06
avg pace: 8:45/mile
days off: 6 (none were really planned)
abs/yoga: 2 ab workouts / 1 yoga session
avg resting hr: 53.67
avg max hr: 182.45
pushups: 856



i saw this article today on cnn and am wondering if it could perhaps explain the numbness i've had in the past. my left elbow/forearm/hand has become numb and tingly on previous runs, although thankfully i haven't experienced it since february. the article talks about talking on a cell phone too much and having your pinky/ring fingers go numb, but it also says the problem can be attributed to other repetitive activities as well.

the numbness is due to stress or strain on the "ulnar nerve", which travels through the forearm and into the hand. it becomes stretched when the elbow is bent past 90 degrees, which is fine for small periods of time, but can cause damage if done longer or more repeatedly. i noticed myself propping my elbow on my desk and holding my chin in my hand while working reading your blogs, and i'm sure this is a regular habit of mine. perhaps on those days when my arms/hands went numb it was from over-stretching that nerve, and then running irritated it further.

i noticed on my run today that my arms are pretty much always bent more than 90*. (i feel like my arm-form is normal though). it seems like the ulnar nerve strain is a plausible explanation since my numbness/tinglyness was along the part of my arm and hand where the nerve runs. i'm working on not propping my elbows as much and hopefully won't experience the discomfort again.
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20 comments :

  1. i saw that article and thought of you! that's a lotta pushups! May was a good month, I know June will be just as good if not better for ya :)

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  2. Wow Lindsay you've had quite a month. I can't wait to be clocking up mileage like that. Well done.

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  3. You crushed this month with push ups! Glad to hear you haven't experienced numbness since Feb. the article does sounds like what may have been going on with you.

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  4. Nicely done with May, girl!

    I used to have a problem with my left shoulder/arm while running (only while running). I got tuned up by my chiro & haven't had it since. I still don't know what had caused it, but you've been dealing with this for a while. Have you gotten it looked at?

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  5. I am, as always, humbled and inspired looking at your stats for May. I also hope you can get that arm issue figured out! It's good that you have an idea of what might be causing it and that you're working on it!

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  6. Wow what awesome stats for this month! That's excellent!

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  7. You had me at 856 push-ups! WHAT?!

    Sounds like you could have an explanation there for the numbness in your arm. I've never heard of that!

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  8. Just found your blog through Twitter, and am looking forward to following your training. I trained for my first (and only ... so far) marathon shortly after moving to Florida, so I definitely feel your pain! Keep up the good work!

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  9. Your totals always make me shake my head in amazement.

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  10. Damaging the ulnar nerve can leave you unable to use your fingers or the entire hand. I damaged my left hand ulnar nerve a couple of years back. I couldn't use the hand very much a couple of weeks. It healed on its own but it was sure annoying when I wanted to bike and couldn't shift. BTW: I damaged it when I went riding for 80 miles, so I was putting way too much weight on the hand while riding.

    Terrific job on the push ups!

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  11. Good solid month. Keep doing work!

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  12. Those are great numbers for the month, I'm impressed!

    And I take it you're running New York? I hope I get in via the lottery...

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  13. Interesting article. I always assume I'm having a heartattack when my arms go tingly. :o)

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  14. awesome job on the month! very interesting about the arm numbness. stupid desk jobs.

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  15. 856 push-ups? wow, i am impressed. i try to do 30, 2 days a week and I never get to it. you are so motivated - be proud:) ana-maria
    p.s. i would not worry about ulnar neuropathy - it's relationship with activity/overuse is spurious and not supported by research (can you tell i work in ortho?)Ana-Maria

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  16. "Underachiever" here. Great job (again) Dr. Lindsay. Nice job self diagnosing yourself. Justthedistance and I will find out tomorrow whether or not we'll be keeping you company in the NY City Marathon...

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  17. Man, my total mileage is less than half of what you ran. That's pretty sad, I think I'm going to try and increase that this month, or at least throw in some long runs in between.

    That numbness is pretty strange, hopefully you don't get it again. And don't worry, my form is way worse than your's.

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  18. Awesome mileage! Way to go, girl!

    Hope you get that arm pain/numbness sorted out!

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  19. Wow, what a strange thing to have happen. Hopefully now you have an idea on what might be causing it you can keep track.

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  20. I get that too - numb arm when running and I also do the chin in hand-combo. But it's the other arm that goes numb?! It can be massaged out though, quite easily. If we have the same thing :)

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