Ulnar Nerve Contusion

What is Ulnar Nerve Contusion

Ulnar nerve contusion is a bruise of the ulnar nerve.

An ulnar nerve contusion can cause a loss of feeling or movement in your hand.

Ulnar Nerve Contusion can also affect your ability to use the muscles that you use to grip objects.

Your ulnar nerve extends from your shoulder to the “pinkie side” of your hand.

This nerve provides feeling to the pinkie and half of the ring finger.

It also controls many hand and forearm muscles that let you grip objects.

What are the causes?

Ulnar Nerve Contusion may be caused by:

  • A hit to the elbow.
  • Falling on your elbow.
  • Shoving your elbow against a hard surface.

What increases the risk?

Ulnar Nerve Contusion is more likely to develop in people who:

  • Play contact sports, like football.
  • Have a disorder that increases the risk of bleeding.
  • Take blood thinning medicine, such as warfarin.

What are the symptoms of Ulnar Nerve Contusion?

Symptoms of Ulnar Nerve Contusion condition include:

  • Tingling or numbness in the hand, especially in the pinkie or ring finger.
  • Weakness while moving the hand from side to side in a waving motion, or while moving your fingers together.
  • Abnormal claw-like hand position.

How is this diagnosed?

This condition may be diagnosed based on your symptoms, a medical history, and a physical exam. You may have tests for the Ulnar Nerve Contusion, such as:

  • An X-ray. This may be done to check for broken bones.
  • An electromyogram (EMG). This is done to see how well your nerves are working.
  • A nerve conduction study. This is done to see how electrical signals pass through your nerves.
  • An MRI. This is done to find the source of any nerve problems.

How is Ulnar Nerve Contusion treated?

Ulnar Nerve Contusion usually heals on its own within 6 weeks.

Treatment can help to reduce symptoms and it may include:

  • Wearing a brace or splint at night keep your elbow straight while you sleep.
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen, to reduce pain and swelling around the nerve.
  • Working with a physical therapist to ease stiffness in your arm and wrist.

Is Surgery required or mandatory for Ulnar Nerve Contusion?

Surgery is usually reserved for the small number of patients.

If the non-surgical treatment is not successful, surgery may be necessary to free the pinched nerve, but this is rare.

Follow these instructions at home:

If you have a brace or splint:

  • Wear it as told by your health care provider. Remove it only as told by your health care provider.
  • Loosen the brace or splint if your fingers tingle, become numb, or turn cold and blue.
  • Keep the brace or splint clean.
  • If your brace or splint is not waterproof:
    • Do not let it get wet.
    • Protect it with a watertight covering when you take a bath or a shower.

Managing pain, stiffness, and swelling

  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
  • If directed, apply ice to the injured area.
    • Put ice in a plastic bag.
    • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.
    • Leave the ice on for 20 minutes, 2–3 times a day.

When can I return to my sports or physical activities?

  • Return to your normal activities as told by your health care provider. Ask your health care provider what activities are safe for you.
  • Avoid activities that take a lot of effort (are strenuous) for as long as told by your health care provider.
  • Do exercises as told by your health care provider.

General instructions

  • Do not use the injured limb to support your body weight until your health care provider says that you can.
  • Do not use any tobacco products, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or e-cigarettes. Tobacco can delay bone healing. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.

How is Ulnar Nerve Contusion prevented?

  • Warm up and stretch before being active.
  • Cool down and stretch after being active.
  • Give your body time to rest between periods of activity.
  • Make sure to use equipment that fits you.
  • Be safe and responsible while being active to avoid falls.
  • Do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, such as brisk walking or water aerobics.
  • Maintain physical fitness, including:
    • Strength.
    • Flexibility.
    • Cardiovascular fitness.
    • Endurance.

Contact a health care provider if:

  • Your pain does not improve or it gets worse.
  • Your swelling does not improve or it gets worse.
  • Your grip becomes weaker.

Get help right away if:

  • You have severe pain.
  • You have severe swelling.
  • You cannot move your wrist, hand, or elbow.
  • You cannot feel parts of your hand, wrist, or arm.

What is the prognosis of Ulnar Nerve Contusion

This condition is usually curable with appropriate treatment and often heals spontaneously.

Complete healing may take up to six weeks, depending on the extent of injury.

Rarely, symptoms may be permanent.

Ulnar Nerve Contusion Rehabilitation

Ask your health care provider which exercises are safe for you. Do exercises exactly as told by your health care provider and adjust them as directed. It is normal to feel mild stretching, pulling, tightness, or discomfort as you do these exercises, but you should stop right away if you feel sudden pain or your pain gets worse. Do not begin these exercises until told by your health care provider.

Stretching and range of motion exercises

These exercises warm up your muscles and joints and improve the movement and flexibility of your forearm. These exercises also help to relieve pain, numbness, and tingling.

Exercise A: Extensor stretch

  1. Stand over a tabletop with your __________ hand resting palm-up on the tabletop and your fingers pointing away from your body. Your arm should be extended and there should be a slight bend in your elbow.
  2. Gently press the back of your hand down onto the table by straightening your elbow. You should feel a stretch on the top of your forearm.
  3. Hold this position for __________ seconds.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this stretch __________ times a day.

Exercise B: Flexor stretch

  1. Stand over a tabletop with your __________ hand resting palm-down on the tabletop and your fingers pointing away from your body. Your arm should be extended and there should be a slight bend in your elbow.
  2. Gently press your fingers and palm down onto the table by straightening your elbow. You should feel a stretch on the inside of your forearm.
  3. Hold this position for __________ seconds.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this stretch __________ times a day.

Exercise C: Ulnar nerve glide, hand moving

  1. Stand or sit with your left / right elbow bent and your hand at the height of your shoulder.
  2. Move your elbow about 6 inches (15 cm) away from your body.
  3. Gently and slowly wave your hand back and forth.
  4. Repeat this motion for __________ seconds.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this exercise __________ times a day.

Exercise D: Ulnar nerve glide, elbow moving

  1. Stand or sit with your left / right arm straight out to your side at shoulder height.
  2. Bring your fingers up toward the ceiling so your palm faces away from you.
  3. Bend your elbow and bring it to your side and bend your wrist so your palm now faces the floor.
  4. Slowly go back and forth between doing the step 2 position and the step 3 position.
  5. Repeat these motions for __________ seconds.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this exercise __________ times a day.

Strengthening exercises

These exercises build strength and endurance in your forearm. Endurance is the ability to use your muscles for a long time, even after they get tired.

Exercise E: Grip

  1. Hold one of these items in your right or left hand: a dense sponge, a tennis ball, or a large, rolled sock.
  2. Slowly squeeze as hard as you can without increasing any pain.
  3. Hold this position for few seconds.
  4. Slowly release your grip.

Repeat few times. Complete this exercise for few times a day.

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