Updated 03 July 2015

What's your diagnosis? – Case 16: numbness in forearm

Mr W is suffering from intermittant pain in his forearm and hand, as well as occasional numbness in his thumb and index finger. Put on your thinking caps and see if you can diagnose this disease.


Mr W is a 49 year old gentleman who works in a factory as a packer. Over the past two weeks he has been noticing an intermittent pain in his right forearm and hand, which is now becoming more persistent.

Occasionally he also experience numbness in his thumb and index finger. The numbness follows after a short period of pins and needles

The following is a summary of his GP's notes:


Pain, numbness and pins and needles in right forearm – especially in right wrist, thumb and index finger

Pain is usually worse in the afternoons and early evening.

Patient also mentions at times that his grip is affected.

Patient works in a factory as a packer.

No medical history or surgical history


On Examination:

- Normal general and physical examination

- Right hand and forearm: normal power and reflexes. On bending on the wrist, patient experiences a sensation of slight pins and needles in thumb.

- Normal vital signs and urine test

Based on the information above, what is the most likely diagnosis?

What's your diagnosis? Join the guesswork on our Facebook page, or comment below.

NOTE: Health24's on-site GP Dr Owen Wiese will reveal new cases on Thursdays. We'll post the answer with the story on Mondays, or you can get it via the Daily Tip – sign up here.

Previously on What's Your Diagnosis?

What's your diagnosis? -  Case 1: vomiting and weight loss

What's your diagnosis? -  Case 2: eye pain

What's your diagnosis? -  Case 3: strange behaviour and a bullet in the back

What's your diagnosis? -  Case 4: seeing odd things

What's your diagnosis? - Case 5: mysterious lungs

What's your diagnosis? - Case 6: runner with seizures

What's your diagnosis? - Case 7: swollen knee

What's your diagnosis? - Case 8: bloody semen

What's your diagnosis? - Case 9: confusing neurological signs

What's your diagnosis? - Case 10: diabetic teenager with unusual signs and symptoms

What's your diagnosis? - Case 11: bruising with no apparent reason

What's your diagnosis? - Case 12: severe tummy pain

What's your diagnosis? - Case 13: severe sore throat

What's your diagnosis? - Case 14: abdominal pain and swelling

What's your diagnosis? - Case 15: the world is spinning

Image: Diagnosis from Shutterstock

Dr. Owen J. Wiese is Health24's resident doctor. After graduating from Stellenbosch University with additional qualifications in biochemistry and physiology he developed a keen interest in providing medical information through the media.


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