Ulnar wrist pain

Ulnar wrist pain is pain on the side of your wrist opposite the thumb. This pain can vary, depending on the cause. It may worsen when you grip something or twist your wrist. Ulnar wrist pain can be hard to diagnose because it can be linked to many different types of injuries. Given this, it is often called the “black box” of the wrist and you should see an experienced practitioner to help manage your condition.

A common cause of ulnar wrist pain is a fall onto an outstretched hand. This can break bones in the wrist. Sports like tennis, golf, hockey, basketball, and football can sometimes bend the wrist back too far and this can damage tendons and ligaments such as the ECU tendon, the TFCC or UT ligament.

To diagnose the underlying cause of ulnar wrist pain, your doctor may move your wrist or hand into different positions to see what hurts. Imaging tests like CT, MRI, and ultrasound scans may also be needed.

Depending upon the cause of your ulnar wrist pain, you may be a candidate to undergo motion analysis of your wrist to see if the tendons are working properly. For example, in tennis players, the double-handed backhand in the non-dominant wrist or during the forehand in the dominant wrist may cause pain due to a tendon problem.

Traditional treatment for ulnar wrist pain may include a splint, a cast, a corticosteroid injection, or hand therapy. Sometimes it includes surgery, which may involve putting a camera in your wrist (arthroscopy) to repair a ligament injury or repair of an injured tendon or bone.

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