The median nerve is in the arm. It originates from the upper part of the spine, known as the brachial plexus and the cervical spine. From there, it proceeds through the armpit region (axilla) and into the arm, passing through the elbow joint and the wrist before branching out into the hand.
It is the only nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel, a narrow passage in your wrist made up of small bones and a tough band of tissue. The median acts as a pulley for the tendons that bend the fingers and if it is injured, it can affect the use of your digits, hand or arm and can cause a loss of sensation.
Damage to the median nerve is sustained through an injury to the arm/wrist or through surgery. The effects can be significant, especially if it is your dominant hand, and can impact on the type of work you do, the activities you enjoy and how you live your day to day life.
When injury to the median nerve is caused by surgery or during treatment for another condition, it could amount to negligent care. Damage can occur in a number of circumstances and causes different symptoms, depending on where in the arm it has been sustained. Examples of arm injuries affecting the median nerve are set out below, along with likely symptoms:
Above the elbow
- Supracondylar humerus fracture
- This is a fracture to the upper arm and is common in children
- Weakness in movement of the hand at the wrist. Loss of movement in fingers and thumb
- Hyperextension of index finger and thumb, leading to appearance of ‘ape hand’ deformity when at rest
- Loss of sensation in fingers
At the elbow
- Pronator Teres Syndrome – a compression neuropathy that can trap the median nerve at the elbow. It is rare compared to compression at the wrist (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome)
- Loss of sensation in the arm
- Loss of sensation in the hand
- Weakness in the arm and hand
Within the forearm
- A cast being fitted too tightly.
- A forearm fracture
- Loss of movement in forearm
- Loss of movement in fingers and thumb
At the wrist
- Laceration to the wrist
- Weakness in movement of fingers and thumb
- Ape hand’ deformity Loss of sensation in fingers
Within the wrist
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – compression of the median nerve in the carpel tunnel caused by overuse such as typing, cooking, sports
- Weakness in fingers and thumb
- Loss of sensation and numbness in hand and fingers
- Pins and needles or tingling in hand and fingers
Taylor&Emmet has successfully investigated cases of median nerve injury that have been caused by negligence. If you have suffered as a result of surgery or other medical treatment, contact our friendly, knowledgeable solicitors who will explain how to take your matter further.
You can claim compensation for the following if they are a result of your injury:
- Pain, suffering and loss of amenity
- Medical and nursing care costs
- Loss of earnings
- The cost of painkillers
- Travel expenses
- Any costs involved in adapting your home
For more information, contact our expert team in total confidence and at no obligation. We will do our utmost to help.