Ulnar Nerve Entrapment: Cause, Symptoms & Treatment

Ulnar Nerve Entrapment

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Our bodies may begin to ache and creak in ways we never imagined as we age. Ulnar Nerve Entrapment is one ailment that can cause problems for older adults. The discomfort, numbness, and weakness in the hands and fingers from this illness can make performing basic chores very difficult.

But never give up! Ulnar Nerve Entrapment can be managed and treated in a variety of methods. Symptom relief can be achieved through rest, physical treatment, occupational therapy, and even surgery.

We’ll examine the reasons, signs, and workouts in more detail in this post to help you feel better. Therefore, let’s get going and take charge of our health!

Signs and symptoms of Ulnar Nerve Entrapment

  • Decreased strength in the hand.
  • Paresthesia or tingling sensation in the palm and fourth and fifth fingers.
  • Increased sensitivity to cold temperatures.
  • Pain or tenderness in the elbow joint.

What Causes Ulnar Nerve Entrapment?

  • Repetitive motions, such as typing or playing musical instruments, can pressure the ulnar nerve.
  • Direct trauma to the elbow, such as a fall or a blow to the elbow, can also cause ulnar nerve entrapment.
  • Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can contribute to ulnar nerve entrapment.

Exercises & Stretches to Help with Ulnar Nerve Entrapment

1. Wrist Ulnar Deviation Range of Motion

Ulnar Nerve Entrapment exercise 1
Ulnar Nerve Entrapment exercise 1
  • Starting position: Seated with your forearm resting on a table (e.g., kitchen table). The hand and wrist should be hanging off the edge of the table with the arm turned so that the thumb is pointing up toward the ceiling.
  • Slowly bend your wrist toward the floor (towards your pinky finger) as far as you can, hold for 2 seconds, then slowly return to your starting position.
  • Repeat 10x for 2 sets.

2. Wrist Extension with Resistance Band

Wrist Extension with Resistance Band
Wrist Extension with Resistance Band
  • Position yourself exactly the way you did in the wrist extension range of motion above.
  • This time, hold one end of the resistance band in the affected hand and place the other end under a foot to anchor it.
  • With your palm facing down already, slowly extend the wrist up towards the ceiling, hold for 2 seconds, then lower back down.
  • Repeat 10x for 2 sets.

3. Wrist Flexion with Resistance Band

Wrist Flexion with Resistance Band step 1
Wrist Flexion with Resistance Band
  • Position yourself exactly the way you did in the wrist flexion range of motion above.
  • Again, hold one end of the band in the affected hand, and place the other end under a foot to anchor it.
  • With your palm facing up already, slowly flex the wrist up towards the ceiling, hold for 2 seconds, then lower back down.
  • Repeat 10x for 2 sets.

4. Ulnar Nerve Glides

Ulnar Nerve Glides step 1

Step 1: Your starting position will be holding your arm out to the side and gently bend the elbow. Make a circle with your thumb and index finger touching as if you’re saying you’re “A-okay.” Your palm should be facing out to the side, away from you.

Step 2: Begin to move the hand towards your head while extending the wrist back towards you. Make sure to keep your “A-okay” sign. The fingers should now be pointing towards you with the palm facing the ceiling.

Ulnar Nerve Glides step 2
Ulnar Nerve Glides step 3

Step 3: From here, bend the neck so that your head moves away from the working arm.

Step 4: To add an extra stretch to the nerve, slightly lift your bent elbow up towards the ceiling.

Ulnar Nerve Glides step 4

5. Grip Squeeze

Grip squeeze step 1
Grip squeeze step 2
  • Wrap the fingers around a stress ball or towel.
  • Gently squeeze all fingers around the item.
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds. 
  • Repeat 10-15 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

6. Finger Spring

Finger Spring step 1
Finger Spring step 2
  • Place a rubber band around all of the fingers.
  • Begin with the fingers pinched together, then slowly spread and open the fingers against the resistance of the rubber band. 
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds, then return to your starting position. 
  • Repeat 10-15 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

Conclusion

It’s important to note that these exercises should be in conjunction with other treatment options, such as rest, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and in some cases, surgery. 

Following a proper treatment plan and performing these exercises regularly can help improve the function of the affected arm and hand and reduce the symptoms of Ulnar Nerve Entrapment. 

It’s also important to listen to your body and only perform these exercises within your limits. If you experience increased pain or discomfort during or after performing these exercises, it’s best to stop and consult with a physical therapist or your doctor.

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Discover 11 Easy, At-Home “Stretch Exercises” for Stronger, Pain-Free Joints (click below)

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