Ulnar neuropathy results from compression of the ulnar nerve, typically occurring at the elbow and sometimes at the wrist. This condition may cause pain, tingling, or numbness in one or both hands.
Symptoms of ulnar nerve neuropathy may include:
Ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow can occur when there is prolonged stretching of the nerve. Entrapment at the wrist can occur when there is direct pressure on the nerve. Similar to the sensation of a person’s arm ‘going to sleep’ or ‘hitting their funny bone,’ a pinched ulnar nerve can result in tingling, pain and numbness.
In some people, the ulnar nerve does not stay in its proper position and can shift across a bump of bone in the elbow when the arm flexes. Repeated shifting can irritate the ulnar nerve.
After obtaining your medical history and completing a physical exam, Dr Shiva may order additional tests, including electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction study (NCS), to evaluate how your muscles and nerves function. An EMG measures ongoing muscle activity and the response of the muscle to nerve stimulation. An NCS measures the electrical impulse through a nerve.
In some cases, the symptoms of ulnar neuropathy improve on their own or with medication and modification of activity (e.g. avoidance of repetitive elbow movements and direct pressure over the inside of the elbow).
When nonsurgical treatments fail to control pain and restore function, decompression of the ulnar nerve may be the best option to address symptoms.