What Nerves Supply My Hands?

My new Henna design!

So the ulnar, median, and radial nerves are three of the many branches of the Brachial Plexus. They start from the arm, then extend all the way to the hands and innervate the areas I have indicated.

The ulnar nerve is otherwise known as the “funny bone.” It feels funny because when the ulnar nerve comes around the elbow, it is not protected by any layer of muscle. So when you hit your elbow, you hit your ulnar nerve easily. But don’t hit too hard, or else an injury to your ulnar nerve will make your hand look like this, also known as “claw hand”! Cubital Tunnel Syndrome occurs at old age with wear and tear of the Ulnar nerve, and your hand will look like that too!

If you injure your median nerve, your hand will look like this, and people might think you are the pope and you are going to bless them! It is called the Hand of Benediction. Carpal Tunnel syndrome occurs when you wear and tear your median nerve, by prolonged activities that compress your wrist where the nerve runs through.

If you fracture the middle part of your arm (where the radial nerve runs through the radial groove of the humerus), you can injure your radial nerve. Your wrist will drop and look like this, because the radial nerve, of course, innervates the wrist!

So in conclusion, three lessons to learn in life:

  1. don’t hit your funny bone too hard
  2. don’t break your arm, and surely,
  3. give your wrist a rest!

6 comments to What Nerves Supply My Hands?

  • Miller

    Hey Dr Benji, nice blog you got going here for so long I have searched for a blog which details life as a medstudent and the processes involved. I am an international graduate currently applying to a medical university in my country (Nigeria) with hopes of getting residency training in the US, how slim are the chances?. Thanks for your blog, big inspiration.

    • Benji

      During the last residency application season, I saw tons of applications of applicants from foreign countries – several hundreds – just for my program alone of 8 spots. You got a lot of competition, and programs will prefer to take US graduates, even in IMG-friendly programs.

  • Eddy

    Hey Dr. Benji,
    I have been reading your blogs since morning and they have been amazing in terms of providing background of AUC as a student and for the future. I was wondering that as a Canadian, I have already applied for AUC for January 2016 and intend to take USMLE exam in order to match in a US residency program. What are my chances as a Canadian applicant applying to residency program in US after graduating from AUC? please be honest and I really appreciate your time and answer!

    • Benji

      Hi Eddie,
      It will be harder for you as a Canadian, unfortunately, simply because many programs may not sponsor a visa. As a Canadian, you will have to do research into which programs do sponsor visas and only apply to those when it comes time to residency applications. There is no point to apply to a program you may really like but does not sponsor visas. Saying this, I know many Canadians who have done well in med school, made excellent board scores, and end up in great residency programs that sponsors visas. You will have to work harder than your American counterparts to attract attention of the program directors.

  • Eddy

    Hey Benji,
    Thank you so much Benji for your reply but a few questions. When you say programs, do you mean like Family Medicine or Internal Medicine? If that is the case, Than I know my limitations as a Canadian and I know Family Medicine is my choice after seeing most J-1 visas issued by Canada are for Family Medicine. When you mentioned Canadians getting into great residency programs, did most of them get into Family medicine or was it some other programs…? Please let me know Benji as it is anxious times for me and I need to make my mind and good decision before I land in Caribbean. I am ready to work Hard but I just need to have a plan before I start my school. Thank you so much Benji and your blog has been really helpful!!

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