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Ulnar nerve injury

February 13th, 2016 | Posted by corinne grace in Being Prepared

The ulnar nerve is found below the internal side of the elbow. Ulnar nerve or contusion can be caused by trauma to the ulnar nerve and sometimes bruising injury can occur near the surface of the skin. Ulnar nerve injury will make the capillaries surrounding the ulnar nerve to rupture and bleed. The blood coming from the ruptured capillaries slips through the nerve and if there is a direct injury to the ulnar nerve, it will cause temporary or permanent damage of the nerve.

Causes

  • Ulnar nerve injury can be caused by a trauma or long periods of compression of the ulnar nerve which is a peripheral nerve that is found in the whole length of the arm. It functions in transmitting sensations from the little fingers to the spinal cord and control movements of the small muscles of the hand.
  • Ulna nerve is also called “funny bone” in which a mild blow to the elbow can result to numbness and tingling on the arms which is also called “hitting the funny bone”.
  • Elbow fracture or dislocation of the elbow can cause ulnar nerve injury.
    Ulnar nerve injury

    Ulnar nerve injury can be caused by a trauma or long periods of compression of the ulnar nerve

  • Long periods of pressure on the palm such as endurance cycling can also cause ulnar nerve injury.
  • Improper use of crutches
  • Repetitive overuse of the hand or arm and repetitive stress injury can result to ulnar nerve compression and ulnar tunnel syndrome.
  • Traction injuries
  • Bony growth found in the ulnar groove.
  • Playing contact sports such as football, soccer or rugby are susceptible to this injury

Symptoms

  • Pain and weakness of the affected hand
  • There is loss of feeling usually on the fourth and fifth fingers
  • Pain becomes worse when playing tennis and usually at night time
  • Weak grip and dexterity
  • Swelling of the elbow
  • Tenderness of the inner part of the elbow
  • Tingling, numbness or burning sensation can be felt in the fingers and hand.
  • Weakness and heaviness can be felt in the hand
  • Muscle atrophy in the hand
  • A sharp pain that spreads from the elbow to the wrist and hand

Treatment

  • Take plenty of rest especially the affected area of the elbow.
  • Change or minimize performing repetitive motion activities. Take a rest and change the activity of the hands, wrist and elbows in order to help in preventing ulnar nerve injury.
  • Bicycles should be properly fitted in order to help minimize pressure on the ulnar nerve.
  • Use proper crutch-walking technique when using crutches in order to help minimize ulnar nerve injury under the arms.
  • Proper use of the orthopedic elbow splints helps to lessen excessive flexion of the elbow which can result to ulnar nerve injury.
  • Apply a cold compress or ice pack wrapped in a towel and place on the affected area to minimize the pain, swelling and inflammation.
  • Take the prescribed anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen to lessen the swelling, inflammation and pain.
  • When pain is minimized, begin performing stretching and strengthening exercises.

If the symptoms still persists and becomes worse, seek medical help immediately.

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