Your wrist plays a vital role in almost everything you do with your hand. It includes lifting objects, operating mobile phones, preparing food and many more. When you feel pain on the side of your wrist, just opposite your thumb, it may be ulnar wrist pain.
Read on to know what ulnar wrist pain is, why it occurs, and when to visit a doctor.
About Ulnar Wrist Pain
The ulnar side of your wrist is the side of your little finger. You may often feel pain there. Ulnar pain is named after the ulna, the arm bone that ends at the wrist on the side of the pinkie finger.
Ulnar wrist pain can worsen with movements. When you grip something or twist your wrist, you may experience severe pain. However, the duration and severity of this pain may vary depending on its cause.
Signs and Symptoms of Ulnar Wrist Pain
You can feel recurring pain on the side of your wrist. However, when one or more of the following symptoms accompanies your wrist pain, it could be classified as ulnar wrist pain.
- Pain at the little finger side of your wrist
- clicking or popping noise in the wrist linked with sharp pain with the movement
- Loss of movement at the wrist particularly with rotation of your forearm and with lateral movement of your wrist towards the pinky side (ulnar deviation)
- Loss of strength in your hand while gripping strongly, linked with pain
Causes of Ulnar Wrist Pain
The exact cause of ulnar wrist pain can be hard to determine. If you have had an injury to your bones, ligaments, cartilage, or tendons, you may experience ulnar wrist pain.
A fall onto an outstretched hand also causes ulnar wrist pain. The following are possible causes of ulnar wrist pain.
1. Wrist fracture
A fracture in your wrist can be the main cause of ulnar wrist pain. If you have a broken hand or wrist bone due to any old fractures involving the ulnar styloid, it leads to wrist pain.
Arthritis is a common cause of ulnar wrist pain. When you feel inflammation, swelling, and stiffness in your wrist joint, it can indicate the presence of osteoarthritis. Ulnar wrist pain can also be the result of rheumatoid arthritis.
3. Nerve Injury or Compression
You may get ulnar wrist pain if you get a nerve injury, such as pressure or damage to the wrist nerve. Damage from pressure on the higher arm can also lead to this type of pain.
If you overuse your wrist despite having damaged tendons, you are more likely to get ulnar wrist pain.
Growths such as ganglion cysts may cause ulnar wrist pain.
6. Ulnar Impaction Syndrome
Putting extra pressure on your wrist bone may lead to the wear and tear of cartilage and ligaments. In some cases, the pain occurs when your ulna is longer than your forearm bone.
7. Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex Injury (TFCC)
TFCC leads to ulnar wrist pain. This can result from a developmental difference in the ulna’s length compared with the adjacent radius in the forearm.
8. Ulnar Artery Thrombosis
When you have a blood clot in the ulnar artery, it leads to a painful wrist, causing ulnar wrist pain.
Infections can also cause ulnar wrist pain if you have a prior penetrating injury or any underlying condition that leads to infections, which results in ulnar wrist pain.
When Should You Seek Medical Help?
If you experience uncommon ulnar wrist pain that restricts your wrist movements and interferes with your daily activities, you should visit a doctor. Ulnar wrist pain does not heal on its own.
Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment
Treatment Options for Ulnar Wrist Pain
To treat ulnar wrist pain, doctors often suggest surgery. Some doctors may also suggest minimum invasive techniques after diagnosis to ensure a speedy recovery.
The treatment options for ulnar wrist pain are as follows.
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Steroid injections
- Ergonomic adjustment
- Physical therapies: mobilization exercises for ligaments in wrists and strengthening tendons
- Splinting or casting to rest the wrist
If you experience wrist pain, consult your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor may ask some questions, perform tests and suggest a suitable treatment plan.
Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- How do doctors diagnose ulnar wrist pain?
Doctors perform a physical examination and imaging tests to diagnose ulnar wrist pain. Doctors move the patients’ wrists to check what hurts. They might also try to manipulate the wrist in different positions. Apart from this, doctors conduct CT scans, MRI scans, X-ray scans, or ultrasound tests, if required. In some cases, doctors perform wrist arthrography.
- Does ulnar wrist pain go away?
Yes, ulnar wrist pain is curable, and it goes away. The treatment depends on the cause.
Doctors recommend some modifications in daily gripping and lifting activities for a period. Apart from this, they treat the pain by bracing or taping the wrist in a specific manner.
- How long it takes ulnar wrist pain to heal?
Usually, ulnar wrist pain heals within two to 10 weeks. However, it may take longer sometimes. The healing period may vary depending on the severity of the pain. If you take care of your wrist at home as directed by your physician, you will regain your wrist strength sooner.
- What aggravates the ulnar nerve?
Stretching and bending can aggravate the ulnar nerve. When you bend your elbow for a longer time, it may lead to painful symptoms. Many people sleep with their elbows bent. This position may aggravate the ulnar nerve.
- How do I know if I have sprained my wrist or broken it?
If you experience any of the given symptoms, it might indicate your wrist is sprained or fractured.
- Wrist swelling
- Bruising of the area around the wrist
- Bruising over the wrist
- Pain in moving hand or wrist
- Decreased gripping strength
- Inability to grasp or pick up objects