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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: What is the cause of Ulnar neuropathy?

 yellowbirdflying - Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:39 pm

I went to my doctor with pain in my wrist, arm, and shoulder. I also had numbness and tingling in my pinky and part of my ring finger. The pain in my wrist and shoulder was diagnosed as tendonitis, and the traveling numbness/electrical sensations was attributed to ulnar neuropathy. I was given cortisone and have been taking prescription aleve for the tendonitis, but the pain has persisted and I've begun to drop everything I try to hold. I was wondering if the neuropathy is being caused by the tendonitis...(like pressure on the nerve) and, what, if anything can be done. Should I see a neurologist or go back to my internist? Thanks!
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:08 am

User avatar Hello -

You'll by far do best with this by seeing a neurologist. Ulnar neuropathy rarely improves on its own and often requires physical therapy (PT) or sometimes surgical intervention.

While the tendonitis is likely tied in some way to the nerve impingement (may have been caused by the same mechanism of injury) there are often "double crush" injuries where ulnar neuropathy is involved, and this can cloud the issue, since many doctors will see the symptoms of the dual injuries as one entitiy. Very often they are not. However, it is possible the tendon is swollen and could be pressing on the nerve. Only a neurologist can figure this all out, often by means of some tests such as nerve conduction testing any electromyelogram (both usually done at one sitting). This often can help locate the impingement and determine the course of treatment.

If left untreated, at best, the problem will likely stay as it is, but it also can get a lot worse with time. To avoid permanent damage to the nerve it's best to get this resolved early on. Sometimes some simple-but-specific exercises can resolve it, sometimes PT, sometimes surgical release of the nerve. Whatever it takes is worth the trouble.

I hope this is helpful to you. Please follow up here as needed and keep us updated as well.

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