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Rokubaba

AAF student losing feeling and power on left arm after 4 jumps, is it common?

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Hi all,

I started my AAF course yesterday and this morning i called to postpone my remaining jumps to tomorrow. I am worried that i still don't have the feeling and power back in my left arm.

At the first jump already, i felt numbness on my left thumb and index finger. Didnt think much about it as i thought it happened because of the cold air. Every jump it did, it got a bit worse but still not a big obstacle.

At my 4th jump yesterday, after opening my parachute, i started to lose some feeling om my left arm. Is still grabbed my steering lines and landed safely. The moment i landed, i realized that my left arm is totally numb now. I had a hard time picking up the parachute using my left arm. It is the same feeling you have when you sleep on your arm and wake up on it. At the hangar when I grabbed my stuff and phone, I realized is lost coordination with my hand and fingers, making typing difficult.

I dont want to skip any more days tbh to get my license. Today i called in that i wanted one day rest. What would your advise be about continuing tomorrow? As every jump made it a bit worse, i am worried that i will have total numbness in the air and have struggles steering, god forbid keep balance in the air.

What my question is: Is it something common? I want to be responsible with this of course and personally I would go tomorrow and finish the course. Just to get an insight from more experienced people on here. My instructor didnt think much about it yesterday after i told him. After opening and landing, my vision was fine and i didnt feel dizzy or anything. Only numbness specifically on my left arm. Right arm is fine. I thought about the harness and the only place I do preffer it to be tight are my legs. Would loosing up the straps be more helpfull?

Thanks.

Edited by Rokubaba

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First, you should see a doctor.  Especially at your level, you don't want to be at 1,000 feet (300 meters) when you find out you can longer use your left hand to fly and flare your parachute.  All of us (including me) may have anecdotes and some experiences, but no one can diagnose you over the Internet.

About ten years ago, I was doing ten-way and had a bit of a collision with someone on exit.  It was later theorized that I sustained a brachial plexus injury to the C8-T1 nerves during that collision.  The dive went fine but, when I went to flare my canopy on final, my right arm suddenly had no strength, and I ended up having a hard landing because I was unable to finish my flare.  I had about 300 jumps at the time and sustained no more than bruises.  But I was still able to flare about halfway, so it could have been worse.

But really, see a doctor before you jump.  Having the use of your arms is very important.

 

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What he said. Everyone's anatomy is different, and you don't know what's causing this, and it can affect your ability to parachute safely. Try to find a doctor who specializes in sport -- otherwise the doctor will just look at you funny when you say you want to continue skydiving.

Wendy P.

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You asked if this is a common thing.

No. I've never heard of it before.

You are concerned that it could cause issues during a jump. 
I think you are right to be concerned.

Have you tried to hold the freefall position on the ground?
Get on the floor and put your arms in the position they would be in in the air.

Does the loss of sensation appear?

I'm only an amateur neurologist, but if I had to guess, I would think you are getting some sort of nerve impingement when your arms are in that position. 
None of the harness straps should cause that, and if they do, there really isn't any way to make them tight or loose. Maybe an adjustable lift web on a student harness, or an overtightened chest strap, but nothing like the leg straps. I can't see the leg straps causing this, although it's possible.

If it was me, I wouldn't jump again until I was checked by someone who actually knows what they are talking about.

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Sounds like you pinched a nerve that controls your left arm.

I suffer similar symptoms after damaging a pair of spinal discs in my neck. I suffer tingling and loss of control - in my arm(s) - if I sleep with my neck at the wrong angle.

Delay any further jumps until your neck and arm have been checked by a medical doctor. A chiropractor may be able to help straighten out your neck.

Good luck!

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Hi all,

I understand that only a doctor can really know what it is. I was only wondering if it is something common and fixable by just adjusting your harness or something, but it appears to be not. 

I did go through my final jumps and passed it. I did realize that my left arm got just slightly worse but not that much that I cannot lift it up. I still have a tintling/loss of feeling in my left arm and fingers. 

I will definitely go to the doctor before jumping further. 
@wolfriverjoe I did that before my jump to practise and the loss of sensation does not appear. I really cannot pinpoint during my skydive either when it starts to get worse.

Eitherway, thanks for the advise all.

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(edited)

Go and see a neurologist.

I didn't study medicine, but did study neuroscience. I think wolfriverjoe is right - there's something pinching a nerve, probably in your shoulder when you're wearing a rig where the yoke meets the shoulder strap.

Try and replicate it on the ground. If you can't then it's rig related. If you can, then it's anatomy related.

 

If the doctor OKs you, explain the situation to the dz and ask to spend some time practicing with different rigs to see if there's a size that suits you better.

Edited by yoink

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