Ulnar Wrist Pain

1 What is Ulnar Wrist Pain?

Pain on the other side of the wrist opposite to the thumb is ulnar wrist pain. Sometimes it may become severe and interfere with normal function of the wrist.

The pain depends on the cause and its severity.

2 Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of ulnar wrist pain are pain and problems with wrist functioning. The pain may worsen while gripping something or twisting the hand. It may become severe enough to prevent from doing simple tasks.

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3 Causes

Causes of ulnar wrist pain include:

  • Trauma - falling with wrist outstretched or injuries that occur with sports may also lead to such pain.
  • Overuse - certain sports like tennis or golf with extensive use of wrist also leads to ulnar wrist pain. Using computer mouse or keyboard in a position that stresses the wrist may also cause such pain. Some occupations like carpentry or plumbing which require awkward positions of the wrist may also lead to overuse of wrist.
  • Arthritis - arthritis in the wrist joint can also cause pain.

4 Making a Diagnosis

The doctor will diagnose the cause of ulnar wrist pain depending on the history of illness and physical examination. Finding the exact cause can be difficult. 

Physical examination includes measuring the strength of the grip and range of motions, checking for ligament damage and determining if the wrist joint is stable or if the bones are unstable. Also, checking for underlying cause like arthritis will also be necessary.

If this does not prove the diagnosis, certain imaging tests may be necessary like CT scan (it can show instability in the wrist), MRI (it can detect ruptured ligament or dislocated tendon) and X-rays to indicate arthritis.

5 Treatment

Some common treatment options for ulnar wrist pain include:

  • Using splint or cast which may provide temporary relief or can even cure if the cast is applied early.
  • Taking pain relieving medications like NSAIDs may improve the condition.
  • Avoiding activities that can increase the pain.
  • Injecting cortisone injections that can relieve pain significantly.

In cases of severe injury to the wrist which is accompanied by severe pain, doctors may recommend minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery. Surgery is done through several small incisions instead of one surgery. Surgery should be followed by 6-7 months’ medical care. Certain special therapist helps to show exercises to increase the wrist’s range of movements.

6 Prevention

To prevent ulnar wrist pain, it is recommended to avoid excessive use of wrists, give proper rest to the wrist and to avoid traumas to the wrist.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

There are certain home remedies that may help to relieve ulnar wrist pain like:

  • over-the-counter pain medications,
  • using hot and cold therapy,
  • warm oil massage,
  • turmeric.

Acupuncture which uses needles on special pressure points can also be an effective alternative.

8 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with ulnar wrist pain.

Risks include:

  • people playing certain sports like tennis or golf,
  • using the computer mouse or keyboard too much,
  • people belonging to certain occupation like carpentry and plumbing,
  • old age.

There are no severe complications of ulnar wrist pain but it may lead to interference in daily activities involving the wrist, problems with gripping and twisting the wrist.

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