Why Does Your Elbow Hurt So Damn Bad When You Hit Your ‘Funny Bone’? Here’s The Answer

elbow pain funny bone

iStockphoto / Vasyl Dolmatov


I’m about as clumsy as anyone you’ve ever met. This has always been a problem for me.

I’ve spent a large portion of my life walking into coffee tables and smacking my elbows on counters. I can’t tell you how many pockets I’ve torn on shorts/pants by getting them hooked around doorknobs which I didn’t even think could happen until I’m walking and boom, the door catches me and the pocket rips.

Currently, I’ve got a plum-sized bruise on my leg for walking into my rigid wood bedframe in the middle of the night and hitting it so hard I went down like timber. So, yeah, I’ve hit my funny bone once or twice over the years.

I’d never stopped to figure out why our ‘funny bone’ hurt so bad when we hit it. Actually, I probably learned this at some point in HS/college and forgot it by now but that’s not the point, the point is there’s a quick explanation of why we get that painful tingly sensation when we hit our funny bone.

It all has to do with the longest-running nerve in our body and it not being protected as it passes through our elbows:

The Ulnar Nerve extends from our spine to our pinky and ring fingers and passes through our elbows on the way. In the elbow, it’s not protected by muscle. This is the largest unprotected nerve in our bodies and when we smack it/hit our funny bones we’re compressing the nerve it’s temporarily disrupting the nerve’s connection to the brain and BOOM, pain.

Now you can go forth into the world and explain to doofuses like myself who are constantly walking into shit why it hurts so much when they hit their funny bones. You’ve got the knowledge so commit it to memory because this will definitely be an Jeopardy! question one day.

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