If your elbow hits a surface, it feels like an electric shock to the body, followed by strange sensations and waves of pain running down the hand.
But why is the collision of such a small part of the elbow so painful or shocking?
The place where this shock is felt is called the funny bone in English and the shock we feel is not a bone but a result of a nerve impingement.
These nerves are called ulnar nerves which start from the spine and extend to the hands.
Interestingly, it is not clear why it is called a funny bone in English or why it was given that name, it is known that the shock it inflicts is very painful.
So why is this shock so painful?
These nerves pass behind a place called the humerus in our elbow, and in medical parlance, this is called the cubital tunnel.
Here these nerves are sandwiched between bone and skin and are not protected there.
So when the elbow hits at a certain angle, the nerves in the cubital tunnel are pinched and when this happens, it feels like an electric shock.
This causes numbness and tingling sensations in the arm, and because it is caused by the ulnar nerve rather than the bone, the effect is felt throughout the arm.
It is the only major part of the body where the nerves are very close to the skin and therefore experience nerve pain.
This is usually not a major problem and the pain will go away by supporting the elbow for a few minutes.
But there are some people who constantly feel it due to a condition called cavitary tunnel syndrome.
It is a very painful condition, in some cases it becomes difficult for the patient to use their hands.