What is Ulnar Nerve Neuritis? The ulnar nerve runs along the medial edge of the elbow just behind the epicondyle where the flexor muscles of the wrist are attached. Pain can be felt radiating to the fourth and fifth fingers if the medial posterior aspect of the elbow is accidentally hit. In throwing activities or racket sports the nerves can be stretched or slid out of its grooves with additional mechanical irritation.
Ulnar Nerve Neuritis Facts:
Neuro-praxia is the term for describing the majority of nerve lesions in athletes. Being the mildest form of nerve injury, it is characterized by a conduction block along a nerve where all nerve elements, axons, and connective tissue remain in continuity. The chances for complete recovery may be good, provided no irreversible tissue damage has occurred due to long-standing compression.
Contusion, friction, compression, tension (traction), or a combination of these can injure the nerves. The ulnar nerve is also susceptible to stretch injury, although it may be stretched up to 20% before damage occurs. Valgus extension overload during serving and pitching creates significant tensile overload on the medial elbow ligament structures, and compressive loads laterally.
Ulnar nerve neuritis was found in 60% of surgical cases of medial tennis elbow. These entrapments were found distal to the medial epicondyle at the medial and muscular septum, as the nerve enters the flexor carpi ulnaris. The nerve entrapment may be secondary to elbow instability, spurs, synovitis and more proximal compression.
What are the Causes?
Ulnar nerve neuritis is caused by compression or irritation of the ulnar nerve as it runs behind the elbow joint. Fibrosis of the ulnar nerve may result from osteoarthritic or rheumatoid narrowing of the ulnar groove behind the medial epicondyle of the humerus or by direct compression by rheumatoid nodules.
Symptoms and diagnosis
- Typically after long tennis or golf matches, pain arises from the medial aspect of the elbow,
- Pain may increase and radiate to the fourth and fifth fingers,
- Impaired sensation and numbness may be present in the ring finger and the little finger,
- You may notice tenderness over the nerve on the medial dorsal side of the elbow,
- In more severe cases, even lightly tapping the ulnar nerve can cause pain extending as far as the ring finger.
- Dislocation of the nerve from the cubital tunnel on palpation,
What Are The Treatment Options For Ulnar Nerve Neuritis?
The patient should rest the arm and the following treatment may be recommended:
- Prescribe anti-inflammatory medication,
- Perform surgery if the injury persists in order to free the nerve or move it to a position in which it is subjected to less tension,
- In a chronic phase, especially if the nerve is subluxated, the nerve can be treated surgically with transposition of the nerve in front of the epicondyle and decompression for at least 2 inches (5 cm) distal to the epicondyle.
- Ulnar nerve neuritis begins with a little bit of tingling in the little and ring fingers especially when placing the elbow on arm rests in cars or on a chair.
Medications may include:
- Non prescription pain killer medications to control pain (neuralgia)
- Gabapentin, phenytoin, carbamazepine, or tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline or duloxetine, to reduce stabbing pains
- Corticosteroids injected into the area to reduce swelling and pressure on the nerve
What’s the Cure?
Early diagnosis and treatment increase the chance of curing or controlling symptoms. Our doctor will advise on the best option and get you well fast. Give us a call and make an appointment with our doctor now and recover fast from ulnar nerve neuritis fast. .
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