Ulnar Nerve Entrapment: Causes & Treatments

The ulnar nerve provides sensory and motor innervation to your little (5th) finger and half of your ring (4th) finger. The ulnar nerve is part of a bunch of nerves called brachial plexus, which allows you to bend and move the fingers as well as the hand and forearm. When the ulnar nerve is compressed or damaged, symptoms of ulnar nerve neuropathy may ensue. This condition is called ulnar nerve entrapment or ulnar nerve compression, which is often a painful disorder. It can also cause weakness of the fingers, or ulnar nerve palsy.

Symptoms of Ulnar Nerve Entrapment

Ulnar nerve entrapment can cause mild transient symptoms, such as numbness to weakness and clawing of the ring and small fingers. It can result in progressive loss of sensation and motor function of these fingers, with symptoms such as:

These symptoms can affect your ability to do ordinary things in daily life, such as holding a glass of water. Over time, without adequate treatment, your hand may look like a claw.

Causes of Ulnar Nerve Entrapment

Various factors may contribute to ulnar nerve compression. These may occur alone or in combination and lead to ulnar nerve entrapment.

Other factors that can increase the risk of ulnar nerve entrapment include:

How to Manage Ulnar Nerve Entrapment

1. Conservative Treatment

Your doctor will recommend nonsurgical treatment if your symptoms are transient and mild, and probably caused by blunt traumaormal position. These include:

2. Other Home Caring Tips

Here are more tips to help relieve symptoms of ulnar nerve entrapment or ulnar nerve palsy:

3. Surgical Treatments

Your doctor may recommend surgical treatment to relieve pressure off your ulnar nerve if:

Talk to your orthopedic surgeon about the options involved in treating ulnar nerve entrapment. Most procedures are done on an outpatient basis, although some patients may need to have an overnight stay at the hospital. These include:

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