Pain in Pinky finger : Is this the Ulnar Tunnel Syndrome?

What is Ulnar Tunnel syndrome?

Ulnar tunnel syndrome is a compression of the ulnar nerve at the wrist. The compression of this major nerve at the wrist is a relatively uncommon condition. The nerve usually is compressed at the elbow, in the cubital tunnel leading to a condition called cubital tunnel syndrome.

Anatomy of Ulnar Tunnel:

The ulnar nerve passes through Guyon’s canal in the wrist. From here, the nerve innervates to the digits. This is the most distal end of the nerve. The ulnar nerve becomes vulnerable to compression while traveling through this narrow tunnel.

It is important to remember that clinically, the cubital tunnel is most frequently seen ulnar nerve compression. The compression of the Ulnar nerve at Guyon’s canal is a relatively uncommon condition.

Causes of Ulnar Tunnel Syndrome:

  • A benign tumor is the most important cause of ulnar tunnel syndrome.
  • A ganglion cyst in the wrist can also compress the nerve at the wrist area.
  • Repetitive trauma and chronic pressure to the area can also lead to compression of the nerve.
  • Ulnar artery Thrombosis or aneurysm.
  • Fracture of the hook of Hamate bone
  • Repetitive trauma of the hypothenar muscle is a condition called Hypothenar Hammer Syndrome. This condition also leads to ulnar nerve compression in Guyon’s canal.

Clinical presentation of Ulnar Nerve Compression:

  • A person reports with an onset of a gradual weakness and numbness of the little finger and partial ring finger. This is the area of the hand that innervated by the Ulnar nerve.
  • A patient may or may not complain of pain.
  • The patient also complains of difficulty with gripping, pinching, typing or playing a musical instrument. Opening a jar, holding objects as well as tasks that require finger coordination becomes difficult to perform.

Ulnar Tunnel Syndrome

Diagnosis of Ulnar Tunnel syndrome:

Physical examination and clinical presentation are crucial in the case of ulnar tunnel syndrome. Additionally, a physician may ask for a nerve conduction velocity test to identify the function of the nerve. In some cases, a patient needs to get an MRI or CT.

Treatment of Ulnar Tunnel:

Treatment of the ulnar tunnel syndrome is to find the root cause that compresses the nerve and attempt to remove it. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications help to relieve the symptoms temporarily.

Ergonomics are crucial especially if the nerve is getting compressed due to a faulty position or improper biomechanics. For example, typing or playing musical instruments with improper wrist support can compress the nerve. Correcting the biomechanics not only relieve the symptoms but also prevent the recurrence.

There are a variety of the braces available in the market that can help reduce the symptoms as well as prevent further compression. These braces help maintain the correct ergonomics of the wrist and digits.

Exercises for Ulnar nerve compression:

Nerve gliding exercises help to maintain normal nerve course and prevent any physical symptoms. Also, wrist and finger strengthening and stretching exercises help to perform daily activities in a pain-free range.

I describe exercises specific to the ulnar nerve in the article Cubital tunnel syndrome.

Additionally, you can find strengthening and stretching exercises for wrist and fingers in my previous article exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome.   

 

Medial Epicondylitis: Is It Golfer’s elbow or Baseball elbow?

What is Medial Epicondylitis?

Medial epicondylitis is a pain and inflammation on the inside of the elbow. A person complains of pain from the elbow down to the wrist on the inside (medial) of the elbow. Repetitive forceful movements of the wrist usually cause the medial epicondylitis. These movements lead to micro-tears or inflammation of the tendons of the forearm muscles resulting in pain at the medial epicondyle.

Medial Epicondylitis

Continue reading “Medial Epicondylitis: Is It Golfer’s elbow or Baseball elbow?”

How to use Exercise Bike effectively and safely

The exercise bike is a very popular way of getting your workout checked off for the day. Most of the exercise bikes provide different exercise programs that include cardio, resistance training, weight loss training as well as the manual setting for beginners. Some newer models also include anaerobic exercise setting or high-intensity training. Thus, exercise bikes give users the flexibility to choose the desired work out session for the day, comfort to perform the work out any time of the day, as well as ability to perform the session in own homes. No worries about snow days or rainy days, one can still continue this important healthy habit and be proud of himself for doing it!

exercise bike

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Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

What is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome:

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a compression of the ulnar nerve at the level of the elbow. This is the most common place for ulnar nerve entrapment. The nerve gets compressed behind the inside part of the elbow, causing numbness and tingling in the little and ring fingers and hand.

The Ulnar nerve passes from the neck and runs down to the arm. At the elbow, it travels through the tunnel of tissue called “cubital tunnel”. Here, the nerve runs behind the medial epicondyle -a part of the humerus bone. The nerve is very superficial here and can get irritated just by pressing very hard at the site. Continue reading “Cubital Tunnel Syndrome”

Three Biceps strengthening exercises to improve range of motion.

Biceps is an important muscle in the human body. We use this muscle to perform many activities of daily living. In addition, biceps holds its crucial place cosmetically. It is the muscle that gives the look of “masculine build”. This is created by biceps strengthening to create hypertrophy of the muscle. And therefore, it may not be the largest or the biggest muscle but surely it is one of the most important muscles of the human body. Continue reading “Three Biceps strengthening exercises to improve range of motion.”

Three Ways to perform Triceps Stretch

Triceps stretch is an important stretching exercise to maintain elbow range of motion as well as the flexibility of the triceps muscles. There are a few different ways to stretch this muscle.

Triceps is a muscle that makes up back of your arm. This muscle straightens the elbow. When you are doing push-ups, planks or just standing from a sitting position with pushing your arms, you are using this important muscle of your arm. Many times, people are so concentrating on biceps and that “v” look of arms, while building their muscles, they totally forgot this key muscle on the back of the arm. This causes muscle imbalances and invites a lot of pain as well as injury. Along with the strengthening of the muscle, stretching is also crucial. Continue reading “Three Ways to perform Triceps Stretch”

Triceps Strengthening : Exercises For The Back Muscle On Arm.

Triceps is a muscle that makes up back of your arm. This muscle straightens the elbow. When you are doing push-ups, planks or just standing from a sitting position with pushing your arms, you are using this important muscle of your arm. Many times, people are so concentrating on biceps and that “v” look of arms, while building their muscles, they totally forgot this key muscle on the back of the arm. This causes muscle imbalances and invites a lot of pain as well as injury. So let’s talk about this crucial push-up muscle in this article. Continue reading “Triceps Strengthening : Exercises For The Back Muscle On Arm.”

Ergonomics For Gardening: Safety With Hobby

Gardening is a hobby of many. Gardening puts a person close to nature. What a better and inexpensive way to enjoy the weather, and witness your plants growing, getting flowers and fruits. For many people, the garden is the “baby” that gives them successful satisfaction of hard work. With these many benefits, gardening also puts a human body in a series of uncomfortable positions. It is hard work just like a work out session, and a person has to be in certain positions frequently and for a stretch. It is usual for physical therapists to see cases with back pain, hip fractures, ligaments sprain or strain after gardening. So in this article, I want to discuss some basic positioning tips to avoid injuries, falls and pain while gardening.

Gardening ergonomics Continue reading “Ergonomics For Gardening: Safety With Hobby”