The ulnar nerve runs from the shoulder to the ulna bone or the forearm, and down into the hand. This nerve transmits signals between the brain and the hands and vice versa.
The signals are responsible for feeling, sensation, and movement in the hand and forearm. Any injury to the ulnar nerve can disrupt these signals and effect sensation and movement in the forearm and hand.
Unlike most other nerves that are protected by surrounding muscles and bones, the ulnar nerve is the largest unprotected nerve in the body. This means, it is highly susceptible to injury. Most ulnar nerve injuries are a result of trauma, pressure and aging process.
Ulnar nerve entrapment is the most common cause of ulnar nerve injury. The nerve can also get compressed or entrapped on it’s way from the shoulder to the hand. Ulnar nerve compression or entrapment occurs most commonly at the elbow. This can result from car accident trauma as well.
Causes of ulnar nerve entrapment
Whenever you bend your arm at the elbow, the ulnar nerve is pulled and stretches around the tip of the elbow. Keeping the elbow in a bent position for a long time can cause symptoms of ulnar nerve entrapment.
Car accident trauma and resulting injuries can result in ulnar nerve entrapment. Some of the common injuries that can cause ulnar nerve entrapment include:
- Dislocated Elbow
- Olecranon Fracture or shoulder fracture
- Proximal Radial Head Fracture at the Elbow
- Distal Humerus Fracture at the Elbow
- Forearm Fracture (radius and ulna bone)
These bones are located close to the ulnar nerve, and any injury or fracture to these bones can cause ulnar nerve entrapment or compression.
Symptoms of ulnar nerve entrapment
- Burning sensation in the fingers, hand, forearm
- Pins and needles sensation in the fingers, hand or forearm
- Numbness or tingling sensation in the fingers, hand or forearm when typing, writing or performing activities that require constant repetitive motion of the fingers, hands, forearm and elbow
- Swelling in the elbow area
- Reduced strength in the fingers, hands, or forearm
These symptoms may result from other types of injuries as well, so it is important to seek medical attention so that the doctor can make a correct diagnosis and start the right treatment.
Suffered an ulnar nerve injury in a car accident
The impact of a car crash can cause severe trauma to the elbow and arm, and cause a variety of injuries including fractures. These injuries can in turn lead to ulnar nerve entrapment or compression, and cause significant pain, discomfort and loss of function.
If you have sustained this type of injury in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, get in touch with an experienced attorney 24/7, Saturdays or Sundays, at (314) 361-4242.