The term “wrist” is used to describe the joint where the hand is connected to the forearm. The actual anatomy of the wrist is not as simple. There are eight smaller bones that connect the five main hand bones (metacarpals) to the two forearm bones (radius and ulna) (Figure 1). Ulnar wrist pain (pain on the pinkie side of the wrist) is very common. It can result from injury to bones, cartilage, ligaments or tendons.
Due to the many parts in this “pinkie” side of the wrist, determining the cause of ulnar wrist pain can be very difficult. Your hand doctor will examine your wrist to see where the pain is located and how the wrist moves. X-rays might be taken. Sometimes other studies such as a CT scan or MRI might be needed.
Some causes of ulnar wrist pain include:
Pain can be felt at rest or with motion. Symptoms can include:
The treatment of ulnar wrist pain depends on the diagnosis. It can include some combination of activity modification, splinting or casting, hand therapy, anti-inflammatory medicine and/or steroid injections. If non-operative treatment does not relieve symptoms, surgery might be considered.
© 2015 American Society for Surgery of the Hand
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