Arm catch

Hello I am fairly new here - but glad this forum is available. I have been told - 5 yrs ago - and following on from a routine eye test at the opticians then to the opthamology dept at local hospital - that I had MS. The the opthalmologist in charge said that his registrar had no right to give me a diagnosis because they were eye men - not neurologists.Having said that - he proceeded to examine me and said he thought I had optic neuritis on that day and gave me a course of oral prednisolone. He also said that neurologists and opthamologists often disagree about patients diagnosis and said there was nothing morehe could do for me and referred me to neuro. I have had MRIs with and without contrast, evoked potentials - upper limit of normal - and optic nerve scans and loads of other tests. I was however seen again last wek by a new neuro who wants me to have all the tests again but when he examined me he said there was a sllight catch to mr right arm. What does this mean? Any explanation welcome! My arms are my worst symptom - awfully painful especially my right, dominant arm. I hate having my BP taken as the BP cuff goes right onto the part of the arms that hurt,I can’t bear to touch my skin on my upper arms. Anyway sorry to go on so long but need to find out what this arm catch thing means. Anyone any idea? Thank you in advance for any help anyone can give me.

Hi, I was hoping to see some replies, as I was wondering abut this arm catch thingy as well.

Have you got an MS nurse you could ask?


No - no-one to ask…very frustrating not knowing what it means.

Will post it on here if I manage to find out.


Apparently it is to do with the way your arm at the elbow extends/retracts and is indication of spasticity . It is one of things they look for in a full neurological exam. Posting from phone so can’t send links - will post again later.

As promised, a useful link describing what steps are carried out in a neurolgical examination and what the neuro is looking for -

“Arm catch” is referred to in the “assess tone” section with a reference to “clasp knife spasticity”. If you think of clicking a clasp shut it gives an idea of the catch/lack of smoothness the doctor is looking for.

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Hi Mary,

Sorry you’ve had to wait. My first* symptom was optic neuritis. I had an eye exam after my left eye produced a grey smear across my centre of vision. The guy seemed to know exactly what he was looking at. He didn’t say anything, just typed a letter addressed to my GP and told me to see him immediately. Very professional, I thought.

As for the “catch”, this feels like the “catch” in my eye as it scans from left to right and back producing a jerky motion. This is called “nystagmus”. On o account must you quote me. I am a graphic designer not a neurologist (but I’m becoming quite an authority on the subject. This is called “Delusions of Grandeur”).

*In retrospect I can recognise other symptoms that I dismissed at the time as :-

a) drinking too much

b) old age