Ulnar sided wrist pain - discomfort along the medial border of the wrist (on the little finger side of the hand) - can be a difficult and frustrating problem for patients.
There are many reasons why patients develop ulnar sided wrist pain. It is most commonly associated with wrist trauma such as a fall on the outstretched hand, or a twisting injury. Following a wrist fracture, patients will often have some persistent pain on the ulnar side of the wrist. It may be associated with a fracture of the ulnar styloid or with damage to the ligaments supporting the ulnar side of the wrist.
Some patients can suffer wrist pain due to degenerative changes within the wrist or due to variations in the anatomy of the wrist.
Patients may have limitation in the range of movement of the wrist and may have restrictions in their loading capacity.
Depending on the mechanism of the injury, the wrist is usually investigated with x-rays. An MRI scan may help to find any cartilaginous or ligamentous injuries. This will guide treatment options.
In cases of ligament tears, surgery may sometimes be indicated if the symptoms are failing to settle after a period of splintage and non-operative treatment measures.
Recovery following ligament injuries on the ulnar side of the wrist can be slow.