Last Updated on Aug 16, 2014

Symptoms and Signs of Brachial Plexus Injury

Stingers or burners in football players may be due to overstretching of nerves in brachial plexus injury.

Clinical features of brachial plexus injury vary according to the severity of the insult. Permanent weakness or disability may result from severe injuries.

Minor damage, as occurs during contact sports such as football or wrestling, stretches the nerves. This may result in symptoms usually called “stingers” or “burners”:

  • One may feel a burning sensation or like an electric shock shooting down his/her arm due to the nerve stretch.
  • Numbness and weakness may ensue

Duration of symptoms may vary from seconds or minutes to days or longer.

Serious brachial nerve injury results from a tear or rupture of the nerves. Results may be detrimental:

  • Inability to move shoulder or elbow muscles while fingers can be moved
  • Inability to move fingers when arm is normal
  • Inability to move or feel the entire arm, shoulder and hand


  1. Davis, DH.; Onofrio, BM.; MacCarty, CS. (Dec 1978). "Brachial plexus injuries.". Mayo Clin Proc 53 (12): 799-807.
  2. Narakas, A.O. "The Treatment of Brachial Plexus Injuries." International Orthopaedics, June 1985. Web. 28 Jan. 2013.
  3. Lorei, MP.; Hershman, EB. (Aug 1993). "Peripheral nerve injuries in athletes. Treatment and prevention.". Sports Med 16 (2): 130-47.

Most Popular on Medindia