Ulnar nerve injuries can occur due to trauma or dislocation of the ulnar nerve at the medial condyle of the elbow, or have a more gradual onset characterised by overuse and repetitive movements. Initially, it often presents as a vague arm pain at the medial side of the elbow and sensory changes over the fourth and fifth finger. In more severe cases, there may be visible muscle wasting of the hand and forearm.
Treatment for ulnar nerve entrapment injuries starts with conservative management via physiotherapy, including: splinting of the hand or elbow, particularly at night, if flexion of the elbow or wrist is contributing to symptoms. This is followed by positional education, as well as NSAIDS.
If conservative management does not help, a corticosteroid injection is the next recommended nonsurgical treatment. Subsequently, the next more medical management strategy is a minimally invasive electrode which is inserted percutaneously to assist with pain reduction.
Minimally invasive therapies are highlighted as a safe and effective option for long-term pain reduction. According to approximately half of the studies, mild ulnar nerve entrapment can be managed with minimally invasive strategies. However, in the remaining half surgical relocation and decompression of the ulnar nerve is required to reduce symptoms.