Your wrist is extremely important to almost everything you do with your hands, including lifting objects, exercising, preparing food, etc. The ulnar side of your wrist is the side of your “pinkie” finger (or small finger), and pain on this side can be very common. It’s so common, in fact, that it can sometimes be difficult to determine the exact cause. The anatomy of the wrist is extremely complicated, which means that ulnar-sided wrist pain can result from an injury to bones, cartilage, ligaments or tendons.
Wrist pain can come in many forms. In addition to regular pain on the pinkie side of your wrist, you may also feel:
- A clicking or popping sound when you move your wrist
- Decreased grip strength
- Inability to fully move your wrist like normal
Some potential causes of ulnar-sided wrist pain include:
Regardless of how severe or moderate your wrist pain is, there’s a chance you have a wrist fracture, which is another name for a broken wrist. Even if you can still move your wrist, it may be broken. Delaying treatment of a broken wrist may be harmful, so visit a hand surgeon as soon as you are feeling pain.
There are many different types of arthritis that can affect the hands and wrists. Arthritis in general can cause pain and stiffness. If you’re experiencing wrist pain, you may be suffering from a type of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.
Ulnar Impaction Syndrome
Those who suffer from this condition have an ulna bone that is longer than the radius bone, which can cause it to “bump into” the smaller wrist bones. Your hand surgeon will likely take x-rays to diagnose this condition.
The TFCC (the triangular fibrocartilage complex) is an important structure that helps connect the forearm with the small bones in the ulnar side of the wrist. It can tear from natural wear or from an injury and may be the cause of your wrist pain.
Nerves can be damaged by too much pressure, by stretching, or by something as simple as a cut, causing pain, numbness or weakness in the wrist or hand.
If you’re experiencing ulnar wrist pain, it’s important to visit a hand surgeon as soon as possible. Delaying treatment can sometimes cause permanent damage and prevent you from performing everyday tasks using your wrists. Your hand surgeon may treat your pain with a variety of methods (both non-surgical and surgical), depending on your condition. 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 near you.