• Mark N. Perlmutter, MS, MD

Who Are at Risk for Tardy Ulnar Nerve Palsy?

The ulnar nerve is a branch of the bundle of nerves that starts in the neck and comes down the arms. It’s located on the inside of the elbow. The compression or impingement of this ulnar nerve at the elbow is called tardy ulnar nerve palsy.


Tardy ulnar nerve palsy is a chronic clinical condition characterized by a delayed onset of ulnar neuropathy after an injury to the elbow.



Who are at risk?

  • Overuse or repetitive use of the elbow

  • History of direct trauma to the elbow or the ulnar nerve

  • Previous elbow fracture or dislocation

  • Childhood elbow trauma

  • For people who have arthritis, the swelling of the joint puts excess pressure on the ulnar nerve

  • History of fractures to the medial condyle of the humerus, olecranon, or radial head

  • People who are diabetic and alcoholic are vulnerable to nerve syndromes and at greater risk for developing ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow.

  • People who have nerve-related diseases that cause damage to the nerve

  • Athletes who train excessively and have poor sporting techniques (e.g., throwing sports)

  • People with excessive muscle hypertrophy (particularly of the flexor carpi ulnaris)

  • History of injury to the neck, upper back, upper arm, elbow, or forearm with the involvement of the ulnar nerve

  • Construction workers, who do repetitive movements as a part of their work

  • Office workers like typists, writers, and others who use keyboards and mice frequently

  • People who play baseball, golf, table tennis, etc

  • People who lift weights without proper warm-up or proper technique

  • Bone spur formation which impinges the ulnar nerve


Takeaway

Injury to the nerve is not uncommon as the ulnar nerve is not protected throughout its course. Call your family doctor or an orthopedic specialist right away if you’re experiencing tingling, numbness, or pain in your fourth and fifth fingers.


Carolina Regional Orthopaedics

Carolina Regional Orthopaedics provides the most effective, modern, and innovative techniques in both Orthopedic Surgery and Pain Management using proven methodologies in both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of all conditions affecting the spine, upper extremities, and lower extremities. We specialize in hand and wrist surgery, joint replacements, sports medicine, trauma care, pediatric orthopedics, pain management, wound care, regenerative medicine, physical therapy, imaging services, and EMG testing.

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