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How to treat painful lump on upper arm causing numbness and tingling in fingers ?

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Practicing since : 1998
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I have a lump on the outer aspect of my upper arm that is about the size of a grape. Started out about a week ago, became painful 2 days ago, this morning woke up and the upper arm hurt like the devil and my pinkie finger and ring finger were numb and tingling, pain still there but better, seems like the numbness and tingling is waxing and waning but better...thoughts?
Posted Fri, 20 Apr 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
 
 
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 3 hours later
Hello XXXXXXX

Thanks for posting your query. This lump which has appeared in the upper arm can be due to a boil, cyst, swollen lymph node, any hematoma formation due to trauma to the arm or a lipoma or a benign tumor which is pressing on the ulnar nerve and causing the symptoms of numbness and tingling in the ring and little finger.

It will be very helpful for me in understanding your condition better if you could answer some of these questions:

1)     Is the lump soft to touch or hard in consistency?
2)     Did you have any fever, viral infection, trauma or any allergy recently?
3)     Is the lump mobile to touch?
4)     Is there any overlying redness, swelling or erythema?

For the confirmation of diagnosis, you need to get this lump examined from a doctor and get a MRI scan for any soft tissue growth and a FNAB (fine needle aspiration biopsy) done. FNAB is aspiration of the material of the lump which is done by a fine gauge needle (22 or 25 gauge) and a syringe. This will confirm the diagnosis as most likely this lump is due to an infection causing an abscess, swollen lymph node or a benign growth. Swollen lymph node is often caused by an infection, allergic reactions, cancer, metabolic diseases, and an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

The numbness and tingling are due to ulnar nerve entrapment which is caused by this lump pressing on the nerve. The ulnar nerve innervates the fourth and fifth fingers, and symptoms such as numbness, weakness, and tingling appear there when any compression of this nerve occurs. Decrease in size of the lump after treatment can relieve pressure on the nerve and hence resolution of the nerve symptoms.

Till the time you get this lump examined from a doctor, apply warm compresses on the lump because if it is a boil, abscess or a swollen lymph node then application of warm compresses will help.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.




Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: How to treat painful lump on upper arm causing numbness and tingling in fingers ? 2 days later
thank you for your response. I did have an MRI done which I took to an orthopedic doctor. The lump is hard, slightly mobile, skin is not warm to the touch, nor red in appearance, I am afebrile, can't remember any trauma to the arm or that area...MRI shows evidence consistent with a hematoma...so trauma at some time....currently taking a Medrol pack...thanks again...
 
 
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 12 hours later
Hello XXXXXXX

Thanks for writing back to me. Since the MRI has diagnosed this lump as hematoma then it must be quite an old injury which had caused this hematoma. Basically hematoma is formed by a collection of blood in tissue, usually a bruise or collection of blood due to some sort of physical trauma and it usually heals in a few weeks. But sometimes it may persist as a XXXXXXX bruise and calcification occurs in the hematoma due to deposition of calcium deposits. Then it may cause uncomfortable sensations, a lump or hard spot or local pain.

Sometimes there is development of a calcified, bony growth in a hematoma and then it is called mysoitis ossificans.

Both these conditions need a surgical removal as they are impringing on the ulnar nerve and causing symptoms. Hence I suggest you to get it checked from a surgeon/ orthopedician and get it removed. You can continue with the Medrol pack till that time.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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