The ulnar nerve is one of the major supplies of motor and sensory function to the hand. Any condition that applies pressure to the ulnar nerve over a period of time can result in ulnar tunnel syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by a distinctive tingling and numbness in the little finger and the outside of the ring finger, the two fingers innervated by the ulnar nerve. Other symptoms may include muscles weakness in the hand, muscle atrophy, dry skin in the space between the two affected fingers, and problems with day-to-day hand functions.
In order to make a diagnosis, nerve conduction studies, computed tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance image (MRIs) are often used. In order to treat ulnar tunnel syndrome, it is necessary to identify the source of the pressure on the nerve. Common causes include incorrect hand position while typing, cysts, scars, or other growths in the wrist. If no growth is involved, treatment may involve a splint, anti-inflammatory medications, and rest of the affected hand. If an abnormal growth is the cause of the pressure, surgical removal will be necessary to remove the pressure on the nerve. Following treatment, it will generally take several months for the injured nerve to heal and re-grow.