What Does Ulnar Nerve Pain Feel Like?

We're happy to share insights from our doctors.

The ulnar nerve is one of the largest nerve groups in the human body. Running from the neck through the elbow and down to the fingers, the ulnar nerve group helps control sensation and motor function in the hand. The ulnar nerve directly controls the ring and little fingers in either hand.

When there is a nerve injury in this area, patients can experience numbness, tingling, and even shooting pain. Based on the length of the ulnar nerve, these symptoms can develop in a number of places, including the elbow, wrist, hand, and fingers.

How Does Ulnar Nerve Pain Develop?

As discussed previously, the ulnar nerve group stretches for a long distance, extending all the way down the arm. Unlike other nervous system groupings, the ulnar nerve is mostly exposed. There is not much muscle or bone protecting the ulnar nerve, which often sits just underneath the skin’s surface.

Due to this lack of protection, the ulnar nerve is relatively easy to compress or pinch. When this type of compression or pinching occurs, a patient will likely feel numbness or pain along the ulnar nerve. But the precise location of painful symptoms depends upon where the ulnar nerve is compressed or pinched.

What Does Ulnar Nerve Pain Feel Like?

When a person experiences ulnar nerve pain, there is a wide range of potential sensations. In certain cases, ulnar nerve pain can be a fairly minor inconvenience. In other cases, there can be debilitating pain and serious impairment to motor functions. Most of the time, the feeling of ulnar nerve pain tends to produce the following symptoms.

  • Numbness or tingling, particularly in the ring and little fingers,
  • Burning or overheating sensations in the hand or fingers,
  • Weakness or inflexibility, particularly when performing fine motor skills, or
  • Shooting pain in the hand or fingers that can feel like an electrical shock.

Can Medical Treatment Relieve Ulnar Nerve Pain?

Given the variety of potential causes for ulnar nerve pain, self-treatment is not recommended in this context. Instead, the doctor should examine the patient and conduct a complete diagnosis. At that point, the doctor can expound on which treatment options will have the best chance of success.

The good news is that proper medical treatment can help relieve ulnar nerve pain. Though the exact type of treatment varies from patient to patient. For certain patients, medication or occupational therapy can be effective. For other patients, steroid injections or splints and braces can reduce pain. Though patients with severe ulnar nerve pain may need to go through surgery to resolve their symptoms.

Receive Professional Care for Ulnar Nerve Pain

If you need professional care for ulnar nerve pain, it can be exceedingly valuable to consult with an adept hand surgeon. At Midwest Hand Surgery, our physicians are well-experienced with a diversity of hand, wrist, and elbow injuries, including ulnar nerve pain. With fellowship credentials that eclipse regular board certification, our physicians can provide valuable insight into diagnosis and treatment of ulnar nerve pain and similar conditions.

Midwest Hand Surgery also offers fully featured facilities, with the ability to provide same-day medical care, conduct on-site surgery, or furnish occupational therapy. Additionally, we do not rely on physician assistants for treatment; our physicians provide hands-on care with every patient. If you need professional care for ulnar nerve pain, contact us today to schedule a diagnostic appointment with our team.

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