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Thai therapist affirms ‘Dele Alli Challenge’ salute can help relieve ulnar nerve pain

Aug 21. 2018
Pupils at a Khampheang Phet school perform the ‘Dele Alli Challenge’ salute. // Nation Photo
Pupils at a Khampheang Phet school perform the ‘Dele Alli Challenge’ salute. // Nation Photo
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By The Nation

Tottenham footballer Dele Alli’s tricky hand salute during a recent goal celebration, which then turned into an Internet challenge that social media users are copying and sharing their versions of, can yield a therapeutic benefit as an ulnar-nerve gliding exercise gesture.

This is according to the “Mor Meu Plao” (bare hand doctor) applied Thai traditional medicine page (

Despite it comprising three easy steps to follow – making the OK hand symbol; lowering the three upward-pointing fingers down to be right under the ‘O’; and flipping your hand while placing it over your eye – many have found it difficult to do.

Tottenham footballer Dele Alli and his viral hand salute.

The Thailand-based page explained that many had already resorted to practising the “Dele Alli Challenge” salute to help them with nerve stiffness.

The page’s administrator, who is also an applied Thai traditional therapist, cited his recent case of an elderly woman suffering from numbness in her ring finger and little finger, which he diagnosed as cubital tunnel syndrome.

This ailment stems from the ulnar nerve in the elbow being pressed constantly and, if left untreated, it can escalate to a claw hand or interosseous muscle atrophy, he said.

He had suggested that the woman perform ulnar nerve gliding exercises, starting with a hand gesture similar to the salute by Alli, the English Premier League star and England footballer.

After struggling for 20 minutes, she was still unable to do it, so he taught her other easier postures instead.

The therapist affirmed, however, that the “Dele Alli Challenge” salute could help stretch the ulnar nerve and relieve pain.

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