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 varies greatly depending on the severity and underlying cause.

Nonsurgical treatments for ulnar nerve injury

Nonsurgical treatments for ulnar nerve injury include:

  • Corticosteroid injections to decrease swelling and reduce pressure on the nerve
  • Occupational therapy
  • Over-the-counter or prescription pain relief medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Splinting the elbow or wrist

Surgical treatment for ulnar nerve injury

Depending on the severity and underlying cause of your ulnar nerve injury, your health care provider may recommend surgical treatment. Surgery may be recommended to:

  • Alleviate pressure from the ulnar nerve
  • Correct bone injuries and damage
  • Open the cubital tunnel behind the elbow or Guyon’s canal in the wrist
  • Relocate the ulnar nerve
  • Remove cysts

Complementary treatments

Some complementary treatments may help some people in their efforts to deal with ulnar nerve injury. These treatments, sometimes referred to as alternative therapies, are used in conjunction with traditional medical treatments. Complementary treatments are not meant to substitute for full medical care.

Complementary treatments may include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Yoga

What are the potential complications of ulnar nerve injury?

Complications of untreated ulnar nerve injury can be serious. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of ulnar nerve injury include:

  • Nerve problems that cause pain, numbness or tingling
  • Permanent loss of sensation
  • Permanent nerve damage (due to a pinched nerve), including paralysis
  • Permanent or chronic pain

References:

Ulnar nerve entrapment. AAOS: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00069. Accessed May 2, 2011.

Ulnar nerve dysfunction. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. 

INTRODUCTION

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 fo... Read more about ulnar nerve injuryintroduction

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 a while. At times, any of these ulnar nerve injury symptoms can be sever... 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

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