Ulnar Wrist Pain

What is Ulnar Wrist Pain?

Ulnar wrist pain is located below the pinky finger. Depending on the cause it may be slight and not very bothersome, but it can become chronic and excruciating. It can also interfere with daily activities. It can be caused by injury, arthritis and/or misuse. The pain may intensify in certain positions and when performing certain activities.

When the cause is unknown it can be difficult to diagnose and may require the care of an orthopedic surgeon.

What are the Symptoms of Ulnar Wrist Pain?

The symptoms of ulnar wrist pain can vary.If the cause is unknown, imaging (e.g. x-rays, MRIs, CT scans) and other tests may be used in diagnosis.

Symptoms may include:

  • Pain when twisting the wrist
  • Pain that intensifies when gripping an object
  • Pain when applying pressure to the wrist
  • Swollen wrist joint (boney protrusion)
  • Wrist popping, snapping or clicking with movement
  • Abnormal feel with movement
  • Wrist instability
  • Loss of strength when the palm is facing upwards
  • Limited range of motion

Ulnar Wrist Pain Causes

Pain occurs from a fracture to the ulnar bone or an injury at the point where the two bones join. Falling is the most common cause for ulnar wrist pain; we automatically use our hands to catch our body from hitting the surface.

Twisting movements, like picking up a heavy object, places pressure or stress on the wrist joint, causing pain and injury. Another cause is a repetitive movement leading to inflammation of the tendons over time, known as carpal tunnel.

The severity of the injury determines the level of pain. The symptoms include swelling with some discoloration or a bruise, followed by a limited range of movement. A change in temperature in the area is due to the inflammation.

How is Ulnar Wrist Pain Treated?

The treatment of ulnar wrist pain depends on the cause.

Treatment may include:

  • Ice applications
  • Wearing a brace, tape, splint or cast
  • Activity modification
  • Cortisone injections
  • Oral pain medication
  • Surgery

Ulnar Wrist Pain Prevention

If you have wrist problems, simple prevention exercises can help to strengthen the tendons and muscles for a wider range of mobility. The idea is to increase your flexibility using a curling action of the wrist, hand and forearms. Start with these prevention actions: forming a fist with your hand and rotating your wrists, stretching your fingers or squeezing a rubber fist ball.

Light weights or your fists work to strengthen your grip and wrist. You need a support surface to place your forearm on to keep it from moving, focusing on the wrist during this exercise. Hold the weight with your hand, palm down and slowly curl the wrist up and down. Repeat the action with the palm up to improve agility and coordination.

A good diet consisting of nutrients and vitamins is another preventative for managing bone health. Proper nourishment helps the body maintain and strengthen bone density, preventing the injury that leads to pain.

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Last Reviewed:
October 11, 2016
Last Updated:
September 10, 2017