Accessibility Tools

What is Ulnar Wrist Pain?

Ulnar wrist pain is defined as discomfort or pain in the small-finger side of the wrist (opposite to your thumb). The ulna is one of the 2 forearm bones that extends from the elbow joint to the wrist. You may experience pain when you twist your wrist or grip something.

What are the Causes of Ulnar Wrist Pain?

Some of the causes of ulnar wrist pain include:

  • Arthritis
  • Fractures in wrist
  • Nerve injuries or compression
  • Repeated hand and arm motions or injuries
  • Triangular fibrocartilage complex injury
  • Ulnar impaction syndrome
  • Ganglion cysts (noncancerous tumors)
  • Ulnar artery thrombosis
  • Kienbock’s disease
  • Infection

What are the Symptoms associated with Ulnar Wrist Pain?

Common signs and symptoms of ulnar wrist pain include:

  • Popping or clicking noise in your wrist 
  • Loss of hand strength when firmly holding
  • Loss of wrist motion, particularly when the forearm is rotated, and the wrist is moved lateral to the pinky side (ulnar deviation)

Diagnosis of Ulnar Wrist Pain

Your doctor will review your medical history and symptoms and based on this a physical examination of the wrist will be performed. Your doctor may also recommend the following diagnostic tests:

  • X-rays: This study uses electromagnetic beams to produce images of the bones and can detect fractures or injuries.
  • CT scan: Special x-rays are used to produce more detailed images of the bone fractures not visible in X-rays.
  • MRI Scan: This is an imaging study that uses a large magnetic field and radio waves to identify tiny fractures and soft-tissue injuries.
  • Ultrasound: This study uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the tissues.
  • Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies to measure nerve impulses and nerve damage

What are the Treatments for Ulnar Wrist Pain?

The treatments for ulnar wrist pain include:

Nonsurgical options such as: 

  • Medications: Your doctor can advise analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen to treat the pain and inflammation brought on by a wrist injury.
  • Physical Therapy: If you have arthritis, stretching and strengthening activities may be advised to increase your range of motion and strengthen your wrist muscles.
  • Cortisone Injections: To reduce pain and swelling, corticosteroid medicine is injected directly into the injured wrist.

Surgery may be necessary to treat severe arthritis, fractures, tendon or ligament tears; and remove growths or other causes of nerve compression. This may be done as an open surgery or arthroscopically.

  • American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • University of Florida
  • Lawrence General Hospital
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital
  • Johns Hopkins University