Burners (also called stingers) are injuries to the
nerve network that provides feeling and muscle control in the shoulder, arm, forearm,
hand, and fingers. The medical name for burners is brachial plexus injuries. They are common
sports injuries. Most go away pretty quickly.
What Happens in a Burner?
The brachial plexus nerve network begins with nerve roots at the spinal cord in
the neck and reaches to the armpit. Nerves branch out from there and continue down
the arm to the forearm, hand, and fingers.
When a strong force increases the angle between the neck and shoulders, the brachial
plexus nerves might stretch or tear. The injury may also pull the nerve roots of the
brachial plexus from the spinal cord. Damaged nerves conduct sensation poorly and
weaken muscle movements.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of a Burner?
Someone with a burner may complain of:
pain or an electric shock shooting down the arm
numbness in the arm or fingers
clumsiness or weakness in the hand or arm
a warm sensation in the affected area
A severe injury may cause paralysis (loss of movement) of the arm and a loss of
Who Gets Burners?
Football players are
most at risk for burners. But they also can happen in teens who participate in: