Category : Wrist Pain

Hand Ulnar-Sided Wrist Pain Wrist Wrist Pain

Ask a Doctor: Ulnar-Sided Wrist Pain


Hand surgeon Mark Yuhas, MD answers your questions about ulnar-sided wrist pain.

What does it mean to have “ulnar-sided” wrist pain?

Pain on the ulnar side of the wrist refers to pain in the region of the wrist on the “pinky side” of the wrist joint. The structures on the pinky side of the wrist make a complex interaction with bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons.  They allow us to grip, twist the forearm and wrist, and move the wrist forward (flexion) and backward (extension).  In the wrist, injury or wearing down of these structures may lead to pain or instability.

What are some causes of ulnar-sided wrist pain?

In a relatively small area on the ulnar side of the wrist, there are many different structures. The main structures that cause pain in this part of the wrist are ligaments (soft tissue that connects bone to bone), tendons (soft tissue that connects bone to muscle), bone, or cartilage (allow joints to move smoothly).  Also on this side of the wrist is the triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) which is a group of soft tissue structures that work together.

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Hand Therapy TFCC Wrist Wrist Pain

Advice From a Certified Hand Therapist: Wrist Pain

Have you been experiencing pain in your wrist during day-to-day activities? Wrist pain may be attributed to many things, as the wrist is a complex network of tendons, ligaments, bones, vessels, and cartilage in and around the joints.

A common location of wrist pain is on the small finger side of the wrist, as highlighted in the image above. Pain in this area is referred to as ulnar sided wrist pain because it is on the same side of the wrist as the ulna bone.  This area has a large collection of ligaments and cartilage that form a complex structure called the Triangular FibroCartilage Complex, TFCC for short. Pain here can greatly interfere with and limit day-to-day activities. So what should you look for?

What causes ulnar-sided wrist pain?

Acute injuries such as falling on your hand and/or a twisting injury while gripping can cause pain on this side of your wrist. Another culprit for such wrist pain can be repetitive stress from continued gripping and/or weight bearing. Sports such as tennis, baseball and gymnastics are examples of activities where these types of recurring injuries most often happen.

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Bones Kienbock's Disease Wrist Wrist Pain

Ask a Doctor: Kienbock’s Disease

kienbocks

Dr. Mark Yuhas answers your questions about Kienbock’s Disease:

What is Kienbock’s Disease?

Kienbock’s Disease, also known as avascular necrosis of the lunate, is a disease that can result in pain and stiffness in the wrist. The lunate is one of eight small bones in the wrist that give the wrist its complex and unique motion.  “Avascular necrosis” is a lack of blood supply to the bone, which results in bone death. Blood supply is important to all bones to grow, heal, and provide structure and support to the body. Without blood supply, the lunate may not provide the same support and structure needed for proper wrist function.

What is the cause of Kienbock’s Disease? Can it be prevented?

There are several theories about the cause of Kienbock’s Disease, but a single cause has not been identified. Multiple variables are thought to be involved, including a history of wrist trauma. Other contributing factors include variations in anatomy such as the position of the forearm bones at the wrist, the shape of the lunate, and the pattern of blood supply to the lunate. Most of these factors are not able to be controlled by the patient.

There is no way that we know to prevent Kienbock’s Disease. However, it is important to identify this problem as soon as possible in order to prevent progression of the disease which can lead to wrist arthritis. This ultimately can cause pain, stiffness, and decreased function in the wrist.

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Hand Hand Pain Wrist Wrist Pain

Random Fact: Smart Phones and Hand Pain

Did you know? While 72% of Americans use smart phones, there is no evidence to suggest that smart phone use has resulted in an uptick of wrist and hand pain. At least not yet. Read more.

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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
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