Hand Wrist Wrist Pain

7 causes of ulnar-sided wrist pain

people, healthcare and problem concept - close up of man suffering from pain in hand oe wrist at home

The “pinkie” side of the wrist is also known as the ulnar side. Pain on this side can be very common. It can result from injury to bones, cartilage, ligaments or tendons. Due to this wide range of causes, it can be difficult to determine why the pain is happening. Here are some possible causes of ulnar-sided wrist pain:

  1. Wrist fracture
  2. Arthritis of the joint(s) between the bones
  3. Ulnar Impaction Syndrome (when the ulna is longer than the radius, which can cause it to “bump into” the smaller wrist bones)
  4. Inflammation or irritation of the tendons that bend and extend the wrist
  5. Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex Injury (TFCC) (when the connection between the ulna bone and other structures in the wrist is torn by an injury or frayed over time)
  6. Nerve injury or compression
  7. Tumors, most commonly ganglion cysts, that are benign

If you are having pain in your wrist, visit a hand surgeon. Your doctor will examine your wrist and potentially take x-rays to determine the cause of pain. Treatment options can include activity modification, splints, therapy, medicine or surgery. Visit www.HandCare.org to learn more and to find a hand surgeon.

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59 Comments
  • November 22, 2019 at 1:38 PM
    Reply

    how to fix side latrals

  • October 14, 2019 at 11:29 AM
    Reply

    Hi everyone! Full transparency – I work with Wendy Medeiros, OT, CHT (retired 2014) who invented the WristWidget® after a patient refused TFCC surgery. The TFCC is a tricky little bird, but can heal beautifully without surgery. Wendy has treated over 40,000 patients since 2006, and over 500,000 have been sold across the world. Do your due diligence – research, learn what works, talk with others with TFCC injuries – FB group is a great place. Surgery should be your last consideration.

  • Barbara Darlene Byrd
    September 14, 2019 at 9:59 PM
    Reply

    I have been told I have saddle syndrome. I have also had a 5th metacarpal fracture with a TFCC grade 4 tear. I have gone through 6 weeks of hand therapy. I still have pain in the with the little finger and ulnar side of the hand but was told I will have to learn to live with it. Is there any thing else I can do instead of settling for chronic pain

    • Arcanis
      September 27, 2019 at 12:18 AM
      Reply

      Without prior injury, we are most likely all suffering from the NEW and IMPROVED carpal tunnel syndrome. Ulnar Tunnel Syndrome that is 95% of the time caused by constantly holding our smart phones. My pain flares up badly when I play an hour or more of app games.

      • michael shiels
        September 29, 2019 at 2:17 PM
        Reply

        That is exactly what has happened to me. When holding the smart phone or even as i am typing now.When i extend the small finger i can feel the aches kicking in.
        What have you done to stop the aches.
        I have tried holding the phone in the other hand, but i feel it may take some time to heal or maybe i’ll need a splint.

  • Janet Hoffman
    July 6, 2019 at 6:45 PM
    Reply

    My wrist pain started several months after subtotal palmar fasciectomy. Could this be related? Having wrist MRI for carpal tunnel next week.

  • Vance
    July 6, 2019 at 5:47 AM
    Reply

    I developed a severe pain on the pinky side of my wrist several years ago. I had no choice but to wear a brace so I could continue to work. After several months the pain was gone. It has recently come back and is only bearable if I keep my hand pointed outward. Woke up yesterday morning and suddenly pain free, wake up this morning, get some breakfast and it suddenly hit me again. Last time I was scheduled to see a specialist I was told I would have to wait 8 months. Guess I’ll have to try again, can barely hold a paper cup.

    • Bryce
      July 11, 2019 at 1:04 PM
      Reply

      Look into cubital tunnel syndrome. It affects the Pinky and half of the ring finger.

  • Ke
    June 26, 2019 at 12:06 AM
    Reply

    I was carrying a case of water; my wrist was in a deviation position. Since then, I have had pain on the ulnar side of my wrist. It’s been six months. I cannot hold anything heavy. I can only flex and extend my wrist.

    • Linda
      September 15, 2019 at 6:47 AM
      Reply

      How did you find relief, I am having the same issue.

  • chris labine
    June 8, 2019 at 12:32 PM
    Reply

    I hurt my wrist in this area doing body dips at a gym three years ago. chiro is the only thing to help along with holding a light dumbell

  • megan
    May 3, 2019 at 8:24 AM
    Reply

    I dont remember injuring my wrist in any way.I do sports.The ulnar side of my wrists has been hurting whenever i put load on it.when I squeeze my wrist it usually sounds like something popping back to place and the pain slowly goes away.I went for an mri ,however nothing was detected.Everything seems fine. I was thinking maybe it has something to do with instability.

    • Nicola
      June 4, 2019 at 5:59 PM
      Reply

      I didn’t remember injuring my wrist, either, nor do I do any sports. I had surgery on my other (left) hand 2+ months ago, and my orthopedic surgeon said I was compensating for not using the other one. So, he said “ECU Tendinosis” (that’s ‘osis, a steady pain, maybe from repetitive trauma or an unhealed injury, not ‘itis, no injury or inflammation,) Who sent you for MRI? Have you seen a hand specialist? If not, and you can, I would suggest it.

    • Lolo
      June 14, 2019 at 9:55 AM
      Reply

      I injured my wist playing tennis. The pain on my ulnar side wasn’t too bad, but I had clicking, pain when I rotated my wrist. I went to an orthopedic surgeon, 2 hand surgeons, got a cast, got cortisone shots, 2 MRIs, and no diagnosis and no relief. As 2 years passed, I got weaker in the wrist area, and eventually I couldn’t open a bottled water. Finally, I visited the Mayo Clinic and was diagnosed with a TFCC tear and UT split tear (rare tear, most doctors don’t know about it). I got the surgery to repair. The surgeon said my TFCC was torn off the bone (probably due to not getting treatment/surgery earlier. My recovery is now close to 9 months instead of 3-4 like a normal tear. Long story short, if at all possible, don’t delay getting treatment when you know something is wrong, if you can afford it, travel to Mayo Clinic if your local doctor can’t properly diagnose you. I never wanted a surgery so bad!! Happy to get my wrist repaired :-). Good luck to you!

  • April 27, 2019 at 10:42 PM
    Reply

    why is it on most of the hand pain mapping questions and forms they always have language that has pins and needles and tingling, and numbness. My pain to describe my ulnar pain is the word “pain”, and use of a dictionary that says it is “physical suffering or discomfort caused by illness or injury”. I had to say that because I have never once had any of those symptoms, but only the ongoing pain itself. thank you, and by the way you have a lot of unanswered question on here. I’m just saying. Thank you in advance for taking my questions.

  • April 27, 2019 at 3:43 PM
    Reply

    for those patients who have severe venous or arterial tos, will you not at least agree that pain of this nature is location in the ulnar part of that hand, that intensifies when elevating the arm? because my doctors that I have been to do not agree with that.

    • Cmm
      October 2, 2019 at 9:59 PM
      Reply

      Get a vascular consult with a doctor that deals with thoracic outlet syndrome.

  • tim pinkerton
    April 27, 2019 at 1:22 PM
    Reply

    how does tos effect ulnar hand pain? are hand surgeons trained for such a complex problem like neurogenic and arterial tos and lack of blood flow with severe pain?

  • tim pinkerton
    April 26, 2019 at 1:17 AM
    Reply

    I’ve had this pain for over 22 years now, and all I can say is I have been to 2 hand surgeons, 4 md’s, 1 physical therapist, an osteopathic doctor, a neurosurgeon, and a orthopedic doctor, I can’t write, and they are all ok with it, and can’t find the problem, treat the condition, or identify the problem. I think it may be thorasic outlet syndrome based on my 20 years of research on the matter. but this is my own opinion everyone is different I guess.

    • Jamie
      May 13, 2019 at 2:38 AM
      Reply

      Go see a massage Therapist therapist they can help. I have helped many people in my career

  • Saliha
    April 12, 2019 at 2:07 AM
    Reply

    Hi,
    For a while i have had pain on the pinkie side of my wrist. It started off with stiffness, then aches and swelling. I went to a doctor and he suggested that it was inflammatory in my tendon, so i had a splint on for a week. After that, i had an ultrasound and nothing was detected. The pain, however, was still there. Now i have extreme sharp pains in the same area and sometimes tingling in my fingers. Please tell me what should i do?

    • vinodbhai r patel
      July 15, 2019 at 11:11 AM
      Reply

      MY son has tingling in his fingers and his dr found out that he was low on B12. Get it checked. it might help

  • Brianna
    April 7, 2019 at 2:20 AM
    Reply

    I have wrist pain that comes and goes on a weekly basis. It just started last month. I’m 25 and I dont really do too much that would damage my wrists. I’m an artist, but I haven’t really drawn in the past month so I know that isnt it. I may have played tug with my dogs too hard I suppose. The pain is on the ulnar side of the wrist. It seems to be focused right at the knobby bone there. The pain subsides with heat, but when it cools it gets stiff and fragile. It feels like when my ankle first healed after I broke it and had surgery and was finally able to walk on it for the first time. That kind of fragile glass feeling where its painful and kinda feels like if you make one wrong move you’re screwed. That feeling. Idk what it is or why it’s happening, but here it is. And I cant afford health insurance or regular hospital bills so I’m just going to have to wear a wrist brace and call it a day.

  • J.R.Lafrance
    March 19, 2019 at 9:08 AM
    Reply

    I am a physician. Pain on the ulnar side of my wrist just distal to the ulnar head started about two months ago. I get it when I do a certain movements with my wrist. It is very severe and also tender, but it spontaneously goes away in 10 minutes with no residual pain or tenderness. It happens from three times a day to once every two or three days. I have seen two orthopedic surgeons who have no idea what it is. I have had no injuries to my wrist that I can recall recently or in the past.

    • AJ
      April 3, 2019 at 3:31 PM
      Reply

      This is the exact same thing happening to me. Have you happened to figure it out yet?

    • John S Selker
      May 7, 2019 at 8:34 AM
      Reply

      Exactly my situation. A simple action, like shaking my hands dry after washing them, can resulting in a sudden, very sharp pain from the interior of my wrist just at the last skin wrinkle line between the hand and arm. The pain typically dissipates in about 10 minutes, but there is residual weakness/sensitivity. I associate it with a building project where I was grasping/moving 18×1812″ concrete pavers about a month ago. The combination of gripping tightly and moving my wrist seems to have irritated/displaced something. I assume that it will diminish if I rest it, th

    • John S Selker
      May 7, 2019 at 8:35 AM
      Reply

      Exactly my situation. A simple action, like shaking my hands dry after washing them, can resulting in a sudden, very sharp pain from the interior of my wrist just at the last skin wrinkle line between the hand and arm. The pain typically dissipates in about 10 minutes, but there is residual weakness/sensitivity. I associate it with a building project where I was grasping/moving 18×1812″ concrete pavers about a month ago. The combination of gripping tightly and moving my wrist seems to have irritated/displaced something.

      • Andrew
        June 21, 2019 at 2:09 PM
        Reply

        Yes, we seem to have the same symptoms. I feel no pain in normal usage but if I flex my wrists from side to side with a rapid movement I sometimes get a sharp pain focused on pinky side of my wrist. Or if I do something simple, like put my computer in its case, etc. It is not consistent, although it seems to happen when my wrists have been at rest for a while, like when I wake up. Sometimes the pain shoots up into my middle finger. It does not seem to have affected my strength or mobility at present. Doctors do not seem to know what it is. Had it for about a month now.

    • Michele
      October 21, 2019 at 9:30 AM
      Reply

      James your pain sounds like what I am experiencing but I broke my distal radius very badly and had surgery 2.5wks ago, have plate and screws on radius. But this past week I have been having extreme painful bouts near the ulnar end. They removed my cast and gave me a velcro brace at last appt. But it doesn’t stop this pain from happening I can be fine mist if day and then all of a sudden, extreme pain. It takes my breath away and tear to my eyes and I have screamed.
      Did you get diagnosis, or has it stopped. I have call in to Dr now bc I am afraid of this pain that seems to be getting worse. I also have an aoot to start PT tomorrow and afraid it might cause this to get worse instead of better.

  • wrist pain too
    March 13, 2019 at 3:14 PM
    Reply

    What is the point of this page if nobody answers our questions!? So frustrating and ridiculous.

    • jacqueline Mattson
      March 25, 2019 at 2:56 PM
      Reply

      I have had pain in both wrists for a couple of years. It travels up the outer part of my hands into my ring and little fingers.
      The pain varies from soreness to acute stabbing pain making me shout out. It then subsides quite quickly. However, the pain is always there to a greater or lesser degree. Four visits to an orthopaedic hand man led to wrist x-rays, cortisone/steroid injection into the joint and a neck MRI. The mystery grew until the consultant reluctantly admitted he was baffled. He then suggested removing a small bone from my wrist which might or might not help. I refused the surgery as it wasn’t based on any definite diagnosis. So I have learned to live with the pain and accompanying restrictions it leaves me with.
      Why on earth is this wrist pain such a mystery. I have self-diagnosed as a trapped ulna nerve but trapped by what….I have no idea.
      I just keep taking the pain killers and massaging my wrists!!

      • GoredwinsDead
        April 6, 2019 at 5:02 PM
        Reply

        I hate to say it but in the long run the pain killers aka Opiates are worse than the surgery. I learned the hard way opiates are so damn addictive and not only will they take everything an everyone away from you but theyll take your life as well. Its not easy in the least but if your not in your 80s an up an still have alota life left, youll not have to fight almost impossibly strong demons by gettin off the pain killers asap.

      • Michael
        April 15, 2019 at 6:45 PM
        Reply

        I recently got my left hand de quervains release and i to have ulnar side wrist pain. So i asked him before the procedure what to do and, he said that during his decades of ortho practicing that other than ulnar nerve releasing carpal tunnel and de quervain there isnt a whole lot unfortunately that can be done.

      • Rebecca
        April 28, 2019 at 4:53 AM
        Reply

        I injured my hand at work. I am a cna. Work comp would not do anymore opinion. So I am going through my own insurance. The pain specialist is doing an emg also known as nerve conduction test. I have the same symptoms. Maybe that will show more? I am hoping for answer

    • Carolyn
      October 7, 2019 at 7:18 AM
      Reply

      Yes I feel the same. I have similar wrist symptoms as the above people. Some thoughts would be helpful

  • Lauren
    February 10, 2019 at 12:26 AM
    Reply

    I’m 13 and my right wrist have been clicking for about a month. It clicks when I move my hand up and down, and there’s a little bit of pain. Not much, but pretty annoying because I play the xylophone in the marching band and I use my wrist a lot. What should I do and if I had to see a doctor, what doctor should I visit? Thanks.

    • Sam
      February 15, 2019 at 5:45 PM
      Reply

      Hi there. I played marimba in high school (marching and indoor) and majored in percussion. Please assess your technique; this is critical. My technique may have been wrong, but nowadays at age 25 I have hand and wrist pain. Part of that is overuse, but please have your instructor or tech assess your technique and keep it in mind while you play; everything from warmups to shows. Ice and rest!

  • Andre michel Bissonnette
    February 8, 2019 at 10:59 AM
    Reply

    I am having wrist pain right below my pinky. the wrist locks and I am unable to move it up and down with out severe pain. I believe it is a tendon problem because I can feel the tendon moving around the bones. Is there a treatment for this type of injury. I am a gas fitter for many years now and pull on wrenches. I believe this is where the issue is coming from

  • Kandy
    February 4, 2019 at 9:21 PM
    Reply

    For about two months now the ulnar side above the bone has been hurting, loss of strength and no injury that I remember. I’m not sure if it’s ligament or tendends, but it don’t tingle nor does it shoot pain. I have tried to tape it but no help.

  • Ike
    January 28, 2019 at 8:04 PM
    Reply

    I was punching a a heavy bag (100lbs) about a month ago with wrist wraps, and I punched and my wrist kinda collapsed a little bit, it hurt a little right then, but felt fine after a couple minutes, so I kept punching. The next day it hurt when I did certain motions, but I ignored it. A couple weeks after that, it suddenly got worse, and I noticed it when I was holding my laptop and flipping it over. It hurt a lot! Since then it has been 2 weeks, it hurts occasionally, and it’s not getting better. What should I do?

    • January 29, 2019 at 7:40 AM
      Reply

      Ike,

      We highly recommend that you visit a hand specialist as soon as possible. The longer you delay treatment, the higher your risk of permanent damage to your hand. You can find one of our board-certified hand surgeons at http://www.findahandsurgeon.com.

      Sincerely,
      Staff
      American Society for Surgery of the Hand

    • Michael Apone
      March 17, 2019 at 8:58 PM
      Reply

      Hey Ike,

      I’ve recently experienced a wrist injury from punching a heavy bag and our symptoms sound very similar. I was wondering if your wrist pain has gotten any better, or if you discovered any more information?

      Best,
      Michael

    • April 28, 2019 at 2:05 PM
      Reply

      make sure to find the right hand surgeon, not just the first one that pops up in the phone book.

  • Carlos
    January 15, 2019 at 6:57 AM
    Reply

    I was on a water park and this ride was pretty intese. I hold on for dear life and the next day the side of my wrist hurts a lot. But I can still move it around but the pain remains. Its been months now.

  • Michelle Bradley
    December 19, 2018 at 7:50 PM
    Reply

    I hurt my left wrist just below my pinky almost a year and a half ago playing with my dog. First diagnosed as a sprain, now after an MRI I was given a steroid shot and now the Orthopedic doctor wants to do surgery. I there any other alternative like casting so I cannot use my hand. I have been splinted and have had wrist supports, but because I can take them off I still have pain and sometimes the wrist supports are uncomfortable. Any suggestions?

    • Benjamin Jacobs, MD
      December 24, 2018 at 12:46 PM
      Reply

      Hi Michelle,

      You have asked a very difficult question to answer without seeing your hand. The questions you ask about non-surgical measures to treat your hand and wrist are excellent questions, but the answer really depends on the specifics of your hand/wrist problem. You absolutely should discuss these questions with your surgeon before you have the procedure so you are comfortable with your decision to move forward with surgery.

      Benjamin Jacobs, MD
      Chair, Public Education Committee
      American Society for Surgery of the Hand

  • Amr
    October 20, 2018 at 2:08 AM
    Reply

    I injured my ulnar wrist a week ago while clean and jerking heavy weights
    I can do all kinds of activities except anything with a 90degrees push
    Pain in ulnar and pinky

    • AJ
      November 16, 2018 at 8:02 PM
      Reply

      I also started having wrist pain which I first noticed while doing dumbbell snatches, KB push presses and cleans and jerks now the pain is ridiculous doing push ups, bear crawls, anything weight bearing. also a lot of snapping when i turn or rotate my wrist. Have you had your wrist examined yet? I’m going to make an appointment.

  • Chris Copeland
    October 2, 2018 at 7:49 PM
    Reply

    Please add hamate bone fractures. I was misdiagnosed by 3 doctors including an orthopedic surgeon for tendonitis, 5 weeks later after begging the ortho to re-evaluate me I got an MRI that revealed a fracture.

  • Ethel Read
    September 8, 2018 at 5:53 AM
    Reply

    It’s a shame that you do not give recommendations for treatment!!!

  • linda
    August 27, 2018 at 9:41 PM
    Reply

    I have not hurt my wrist. last week it started hurting. If i lift something it hurts worse..

    • December 23, 2018 at 1:41 PM
      Reply

      sounds like you hurt your wrist linda

      • Lorraine Traylor
        April 22, 2019 at 3:55 PM
        Reply

        Correct me if Im wrong but your sarcasm helps how?

  • ron heinen
    May 23, 2018 at 2:43 PM
    Reply

    Back in 1972 I broke my right wrist, in particular the radius knob. It healed fine and I had the use of it for 46 years before it decided to act up. The symptoms at first were just a looseness in the wrist but now it is painful most of the time. Cortisone shots help but not for long. My question is there something that can be done besides total immobilization at this point.

  • Cindy
    April 22, 2018 at 4:59 PM
    Reply

    I stressed/pulled my pinkie while picking up a pile of catalogs. It gets better and then I reinjure it by picking up catalogs or other heavy items. How can I protect it so it heals comoletelt?

  • Ahmed
    April 19, 2018 at 10:19 AM
    Reply

    My lower wrist hurts from the ulnar side not strong pain but sensitive( just touching hurts)

  • Dan
    February 14, 2018 at 5:27 PM
    Reply

    I hurt my wrist my wrist 7 weeks. I got hit on my wrist playing in a basketball game. The xrays were negative. I wore a brace for 6 weeks. My wrist never swelled up. I didn’t have any pain unless i was throwing a baseball, football or shooting a basketball. I had no loss in strength i am able 2 do push-ups bench curl. No problem at all. I just starting my sports activities back and i still have a pain that kills when i do activities

    • rams
      April 19, 2018 at 8:29 AM
      Reply

      Are you still having the pain???

  • adrienne conger
    January 31, 2018 at 11:53 AM
    Reply

    My pain alternates between the two wrists and if I apply pressure to the bone it feels better?

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