Ulnar nerve compression - Elbow Injuries

Causes of ulnar nerve compression

The ulnar nerve may become trapped as a result of an accident, strain or injury; dislocations and fractures commonly cause ulnar nerve compression. Compression at the elbow is also known as cubital tunnel syndrome; this condition is common in baseball pitchers. Ulnar nerve compression can also be caused by overuse; this is particularly common in those who suffer from golfer’s elbow. Compressions at the wrist may be a result of an injury that has not healed properly or as a result of osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of ulnar nerve compression

Commonly, the area where the nerve compression occurs determines the extent and nature of the symptoms. Common symptoms include numbness and tingling around the affected area and a lack of strength in the forearm and hand; compression at the elbow often causes the little finger to become numb.

Treating ulnar nerve compression

In most cases treatment will depend on the cause of the condition; medical illnesses will usually be targeted first. Overuse injuries will normally be treated by resting and immobilising the joint for a period of time to allow the nerve time to heal; medication to reduce swelling and control pain may also be recommended. In extreme cases, surgery may be carried out; this is often considered as a last resort. Physiotherapy and osteopathy may be used to help strengthen the muscles and tissues and improve posture.

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