Musculocutaneous nerve injury after simulated freefall in a vertical wind-tunnel: a case report

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2007 Mar;88(3):391-3. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2006.12.018.


We report a case of a skydiver with isolated musculocutaneous nerve injury, which occurred after prolonged positioning of the arm during simulated freefall in a vertical wind-tunnel. Musculocutaneous nerve injury is rare, and the mechanism of isolated injury to this nerve is not entirely understood. Isolated peripheral nerve injuries such as this easily mimic other injuries and can be difficult to diagnose. The skydiver complained of right arm weakness and numbness that began after training in a vertical wind-tunnel. Exam revealed weakness in right elbow flexion and forearm supination, and diminished sensation in the right lateral forearm. Electrodiagnostic testing revealed a decreased amplitude in the right lateral antebrachial cutaneous nerve sensory nerve action potential, and fibrillations and positive sharp waves in the biceps and brachialis muscles. By 5 months, the subject reported complete sensory and motor recovery. Physical and electrodiagnostic findings corresponded to the distribution of the musculocutaneous nerve. The mechanism of injury was likely the prolonged abducted, extended, and externally rotated position of the shoulder during simulated freefall. Although isolated nerve injuries are uncommon, unusual activities and physiologic demands of athletes can result in such injuries. It is important to be aware of peripheral nerve injuries to facilitate proper diagnosis and management.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Electrodiagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Musculocutaneous Nerve / injuries*
  • Neural Conduction
  • Sports
  • Wind