Ulnar nerve contusion
What is an ulnar nerve contusion?
Ulnar nerve contusion is a bruising injury to the ulnar nerve, close to the skin’s surface at the elbow, from a direct blow. Contusions cause bleeding from ruptured capillaries that allow blood to infiltrate the nerve. Direct injury to the nerve causes damage even if bleeding of capillaries is not a factor. The contusion causes pain, hand weakness, and loss of feeling, often in the fourth and fifth fingers. Ulnar nerve dysfunction or inflammation may greatly decrease athletic performance in sports that require strong hand or wrist action.
What increases the risk of developing ulnar nerve contusion?
What are the symptoms of ulnar nerve contusion?
How is ulnar nerve contusion treated?
Non-operative treatment is indicated for most patients, who are able to successfully resume all pre-injury activities.
Non-operative treatment: Initial treatment consists of rest from the activity that causes pain and medications and ice to help reduce pain and inflammation. Your physician may recommend elbow splinting (usually only at night). Stretching and strengthening exercises of the muscles of the forearm and elbow are important. You may receive a referral to physical therapy or an athletic trainer.
Medication may include:
Operative treatment is usually reserved for the small number of patients. If the non-surgical treatment is not successful, surgery may be necessary to free the pinched nerve, but this is rare.
What are the treatment complications?
Possible complications of non-operative treatment include:
Possible complications of operative treatment include:
Possible complications of either treatment include:
When can I return to my sport or activity?
This condition is usually curable with appropriate treatment and often heals spontaneously. Complete healing may take up to six weeks, depending on the extent of injury. Rarely, symptoms may be permanent.
How can an ulnar nerve contusion be prevented?
Wear proper protective equipment, including elbow pads, while engaging in contact sports.