What is ulnar nerve injury?

An ulnar nerve injury is an injury that damages the ulnar nerve, one of the three main nerves in the forearm. The ulnar nerve runs from the shoulder to the hand and is responsible for carrying signals between the hand and the brain, enabling motion and feeling in the hand and forearm. An injury to the ulnar nerve can damage this communication and thus limit motion and feeling in the hand and forearm. If you have ulnar nerve injury, you will most likely experience symptoms in the area of your ring and little fingers.

Nerve Problems Spotlight

Ulnar nerve injuries may be the result of pressure, trauma or illness. The most common cause of injury to the ulnar nerve is entrapment, in which the ulnar nerve is compressed. This may result from bone damage, such as an elbow fracture or dislocation, swelling of soft tissue, or external pressure from certain activities or positions. In some cases, ulnar nerve injuries may arise without a known cause.

Treatment of ulnar nerve injury varies greatly depending on the severity and underlying cause. Your heath care provider may recommend nonsurgical and surgical treatments for ulnar nerve injury. In either case, the goal of treatment is to manage or relieve symptoms and correct the underlying cause when possible.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) ifasudden tingling or abnormal sensation in the area of the ulnar nerve is accompanied by numbness or weakness of the arm or fingers on one side of your body; a change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness; or the worst headache of your life, as these can be signs of stroke.

Seek prompt medical care

if you are being treated for ulnar nerve injury but mild symptoms recur or are persistent.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of ulnar nerve injury?

Symptoms of an ulnar nerve injury include pain, numbness, and loss of muscle strength and coordination in the arm and hand. Symptoms most commonly affect the little finger and the ring finger.

Common symptoms of ulnar nerve injury

You may experience ulnar nerve injury symptoms daily or just once in... Read more about ulnar nerve injurysymptoms

CAUSES

What causes ulnar nerve injury?

There are many causes of ulnar nerve injuries, including pressure, trauma and illness. In some cases, ulnar nerve injuries may arise without a known cause.

The most common cause of ulnar nerve injury is extended pressure on the ulnar nerve, known as ulnar nerve entrapment. As the ulnar nerve travels from the shoulder to the hand, it passes through two tunnels of tissue, the cubita... Read more about ulnar nerve injurycauses

TREATMENTS

How is ulnar nerve injury treated?

Treatment for ulnar nerve injury begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. To determine whether you have an ulnar nerve injury, your health care provider will likely perform a physical examination.

The goal of treatment for ulnar nerve injury is to manage or relieve symptoms and correct the underlying cause when possible. Treatment of ulnar nerve injury vari... Read more about ulnar nerve injurytreatments

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 11, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Brain and Nerves