Ulnar Nerve Entrapment is an abnormal condition of Ulnar nerve where it is physically trapped and causes weakness, numbness and pain that affects the lady finger and Ring finger of hand.
Entrapment basically means that is constricts the nerve and hinders in the blood flow appropriately in the nerve throughout its path from neck to fingers.
Basically, the Ulnar nerve is one of the three main nerves of arm that travel from neck to your hand, provides sensation to your 4th and 5th finger. It is a part of brachial plexus nerve system and it gets its name from the location where it is present e.g near the ulna bone of the arm.
The most common place of constriction of the ulnar nerve is inner part of the elbow where it is known as “cubital tunnel syndrome“. And when it is trapped in wrist area it is known as “ulnar tunnel syndrome”.
Actually, Ulnar nerve entrapment is a pretty usual injury of nerve that travels through the arms of the body. Although it not very serious but in some severe cases some of the symptoms can last forever.
1) Causes of Ulnar Nerve Entrapment:
In some of the cases, there is no clear cause but a lot of things when put together, can exert pressure on your ulnar nerve. Many cases are caused by repetitive movements of arms and hands. But other depends upon the area of entrapment.
Causes of entrapment at the elbow:
1.1) When elbow is bent, it stretches the ulnar nerve. If, the elbow is bent for a long period it causes constriction of the nerve and can become very painful.
1.2) Driving with bent elbow resting on open window can also cause it.
1.3) Holding a phone up-to your ear for a long period of time.
1.4) Leaning on elbow on a desk for a long period of time.
1.5) A cyst or arthritis in the elbow can cause the ulnar nerve entrapment as well.
Causes of entrapment at wrist: Doing something at excessive repetition e.g working with jackhammer
Actual symptoms depend upon the area of entrapment. Aching pain on the inside of elbow will be felt by the patient if ulnar nerve is constructed in elbow.
However, the symptoms will be different if the nerve is pinched in hand. The patient will not feel anything in ring and lady finger or sometimes needle sensation can be felt.
Some major symptoms of ulnar nerve entrapment are as follows,
The weaker hand grips. (In the affected hand)
Feeling hard in typing and playing musical instruments.
Significant increase in pain while shaking hands.
Significant increase in the sense of feeling pain in cold temperature.
Tingling, burning and itching in the hand in case of carpal tunnel syndrome.
One of the most important steps to cure any decease is to diagnose it properly. In time diagnosis will help the patient to get refrained from the long-term loss of function and sense of feeling in the affected fingers.
As this is not that much serious entrapment of nerve. It is caused due to routine laziness or improperly and excessively use of elbow and it itself can get normal in few days. However, if a person experiences pain for extended period of time, this may lead to the harmful and severe consequences such as paralysis of arm or increase in the intense pain in the inner part of the elbow. And in this case, the patient must visit his Doctor. He will start by asking some previous medical history including the medication they might be taking. Secondly, he will examine the patient’s hand and elbow by bending or moving again and again to experience symptoms and to see if there is any misplacement in ulnar nerve. And your doctor will then further recommend you to take an X-Ray to see the elbow for bone spurs and the causes of compression. He may also recommend a test of Nerve Conduction Studies in which small needles are inserted surrounding Ulna and Radius to see whether ulnar nerve is functioning properly or not.
The treatment of ulnar nerve entrapment is recommended on knowing how severe the problem is;
Two types of treatment;
- Less Severe – Non-surgical treatment.
- More Severe – Surgical treatment.
To treat ulnar nerve entrapment, one should know the area of entrapment. This is an effective way to treat. But sometimes, patient doesn’t feel symptoms at the area of entrapment. This case can take some time in testing, but it is essential to know the exact location of constriction.
4.1) Non-surgical treatment:
Most of the nerve damage treatments include the initial step to find and relieve the affected nerve and it may involve the following steps Avoiding the activities that put pressure on the nerve Immobilizing and padding of the nerve to keep pressure off the nerve.
4.2) Surgical treatment:
It includes a number of ways to treat the patient. Surgical treatment depends upon the area and type of injury. Surgery is often done when there is direct damage to the nerve.
If a broad area of nerve is damaged “nerve grafting” method can also be used in which a small healthy part of the nerve is removed and placed at effected part.
Some nerve surgeries include the “relocation” of the nerve. In Cubital tunnel syndrome the ulnar nerve is moved from back of the elbow around to the front of the elbow so that the it can have less pressure to bear.
5) Domestic Preventions:
There are a number of activities and exercises that a person can undergo to heal his ulnar nerve entrapment in his elbow or wrist. Even if a healthy person makes a habit of exercises, can save himself from ulnar nerve entrapment in the first place or its recurring.
A person with ulnar nerve entrapment must avoid such activities that makes him bend and straighten his elbow frequently. This cam cause stress in his affected nerves.
Try to make arrangements that would keep your elbow straight while you are sleeping.
You need to be the most conscious about leaning on the elbow. This is one of the main reasons that usually cause nerve entrapment. The more pressure you put on your elbow, the lesser would be the chances of speedy recovery.
Ulnar nerve entrapment is a condition where ulnar nerve is physically trapped and causes weakness and pain that mostly affects the lady finger and ring finger of the hand. Symptoms may include difficulties in gripping something or typing and sense of feeling pain in cold temperatures. There are a number of causes including driving with bent elbow resting on open window, holding phone up-to ear for a long period and leaning on elbow on a desk for a long time.
Non-surgical treatment may include avoiding those activities that put pressure on nerve or immobilizing and padding of the affected part to keep pressure off the nerve. However, it can be cured even at home by avoiding irregular movement of elbow and putting pressure on wrist of elbow. You can read more Articles in this site,