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Common Injuries and Treatments

Ankle / Elbow / Hip / Knee / Shoulder / Spine / Wrist



Ulnar Nerve Entrapment

What is ulnar nerve entrapment?

The ulnar nerve travels from the neck to the inside edge of the elbow and continues down into the wrist and hand. Its primary function is to provide sensation to the pinky and ring finger, as well as control muscles for movements of the wrist and hand. The nerve travels through a narrow tunnel both at the elbow (cubital tunnel) and at the wrist (carpal tunnel). The nerve can become impinged ("pinched") or pressed on at both of these tunnels leading to numbness, tingling, pain and even weakness in the hand.

What causes injuries to this tissue?

The true causes of this condition are unknown, but theories include previous injury or trauma, overuse or anatomical variations.

What is the best treatment approach?

Physical therapy can be helpful in this condition.  If this condition is severe or progressive, surgical interventions may be considered.

What will the role of physical therapy be in this process?

Physical therapy focuses on mobilizing the ulnar nerve and releasing the tissues that surround and impact the nerve and the two tunnels.  Treatments may include soft tissue massage, joint mobilization, stretching, strengthening exercises, nerve stretches, postural instruction/exercises and body mechanics education.  

Will other services be helpful in taking care of this?

Underlying muscle tightness and soft tissue restrictions that are found to be related to ulnar nerve entrapment may be helped by massage therapy work.  Acupuncture can also be of assistance with the pain associated with these conditions.  Training to return to specific life tasks or sports can be initiated by physical therapists and progressed by personal trainers.  After your initial physical therapy evaluation, your physical therapist will help to determine if these services may be helpful.

Need More?

If you have more clinical questions about this condition, please click here to email our Director of Clinical Operations, Jessica Douglas, MSPT, OCS, or you can get more information by searching our blog.

If you'd like a complimentary injury screen with one of our licensed physical therapists to discuss your condition, please contact us.

If you're ready to make an appointment for any of our services, please contact us.

Patient Info

Contact Us Now

617.536.1161

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