18.6.1  ‘Little finger out’ test of ulnar nerve function

The muscles that move the little finger are activated by the ulnar nerve. Keep the person’s hand flat, palm level and facing the ceiling during this test, as shown in Figure 18.9.

As shown in the left of Figure 18.9, first ask the patient to move his little finger all the way in (touching the side of the ring finger) and all the way out until he can make no further movement at the joint). Is the movement full? How large is the gap between the little finger and the ring finger?

If movement is full, ask the patient to hold his little finger out fully while you give resistance to the outward movement at the base of the finger by pushing it in. Resistance can also be tested in the way shown in the diagram to the right of Figure 18.9. Record your findings.

Figure 18.9  The ‘little finger out’ test. (Source: Watson, 1994, as for Figure 18.7)

18.6  Examination of hands and feet for muscle weakness

18.6.2  ‘Thumb up’ test of median nerve function