Ulnar nerve compression is a condition where the ulnar nerve found in the grove of the elbow is compressed and results to numbness and weakness of the forearm including the fingers. It also causes soreness and burning in the interior side of the elbow. Ulnar nerve compression can be caused by overuse of the elbow joint when performing sports activities, occupational work and direct injury to the ulnar nerve or elbow fracture. Ulnar nerve damage can happen at any age and usually only one hand is affected.[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQyw-tJKmjA”]
Take note that the ulnar nerve functions in supplying sensation to the inner side of the forearm, the palm and also the finger and half of the ring finger.
Common causes of ulnar nerve compression
- Excessive stretching of the hand when playing sports where there is a need to stretch the hand such as javelin or discus.
- An injury to the elbow due to a fall which directly compresses the nerve.
- Fracture of the elbow bone or a direct trauma on the elbow from an object.
- It can cause inflammation, irritation of the tissue around the nerves and swelling of the tissues found inside the groove. This will occupy space and cause compression of the ulnar nerve.
- An overdevelopment of the forearm muscle which is the flexor carpi ulnaris
- Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis can cause ulnar nerve compression
- Overusing of the forearm in the workplace.
Common symptoms of ulnar nerve compression
- Pain and tingling sensations becomes worse during night and early in the morning.
- Pain can be felt in the palms
- There is weakness and numbness in the hands and fingers
- Severe pain in the elbow and spreads to the forearm and in the fingers usually the little and mid half of the ring finger.
Treatment and home remedies of ulnar nerve compression
- Get plenty of rest especially the affected hand.
- Avoid performing activities that requires bending of the hands for long periods of time.
- Take a prescribed anti-inflammatory medication in order to lessen the pain and inflammation.
- Apply warm water compress on the affected hand in order to help lessen the pain temporarily.
- When sleeping, wear a splint to be placed on the affected hand in order to minimize pain.
- Physiotherapy helps in minimizing symptoms of ulnar nerve compression. The therapist will teach the person exercises that help in minimizing the symptoms.
If the symptoms persist for a long time, seek medical help immediately.
Some exercises for ulnar nerve compression
Wrist-flexor stretch involves keeping the elbow straight, using the other hand, take the wrist and fingers backwards until a mild to moderate stretch can be felt. Hold this position for 15 seconds and repeat this procedure at least four times.
Wrist and finger extensor stretch is another exercise. Use the other hand and curl the wrist and fingers until a mild to moderate stretch can be felt, remain in this position for 15 seconds and repeat at least four times.