Indy Style

Why does it hurt so much when I hit my funny bone?

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) –  Funny you should ask. There are a lot of things in life that are funny, but a hard hit to the elbow–the spot we call the funny bone–definitely isn’t one of them.

It’s a different kind of pain. Sometimes it feels like a tingling or jolting. It’s as if the whole arm is affected. Interestingly though, that hard knock to the bone has nothing to do with a bone at all. The funny bone is actually a nerve.

Courtesy of WISH-TV

The nerve is called the ulnar nerve and is one of three nerves in your arm. It starts at the spine and goes all the way to your fingertips. It’s responsible for grip and forearm movement. Normally, this nerve is protected by muscle, bone and/or fat.

However, there is a spot where the nerve is completely exposed–the funny bone. That’s why it hurts so much and the pain radiates through the entire arm. But once you shake it off, the pain usually subsides rather quickly. 


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