The ulnar nerve is the second most commonly entrapped nerve (median nerve is the most
common). Although entrapment of the ulnar nerve can be caused by trauma, it primarily occurs
due to repetitive compression such as leaning on the elbows or wrists or prolonged elbow
flexion. Symptoms can include pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling down the inside of the
forearm into the pinky finger and part of the ring finger.

The ulnar nerve is formed from the brachial plexus and as it descends down the inside of the
arm, forearm, and into the hand there are a few places where it can become trapped. The most
common site of entrapment is at the elbow within a space known as the cubital tunnel or
between the two heads of the flexor carpi ulnaris muscle. If caught up in the cubital tunnel, it’s
known as cubital tunnel syndrome, which is the spot we hit when we hit our “funny bone”.

Less commonly, it can become entrapped at the wrist in a space the nerve travels through known as the Tunnel of Guyon. Entrapment here would produce symptoms that are different from something like carpal tunnel syndrome. Soft tissues in other areas like the neck should also be addressed as restrictions here can reproduce symptoms of ulnar nerve entrapment.

Ryan Donahue

Ryan Donahue


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