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The ulnar nerve can be compressed in two places. The first and most common of these is compression or irritation of the ulnar nerve in the cubital groove at the elbow. The bony prominence on the inside of the elbow on the arm is called the medial epicondyle. The ulnar nerve passes through the cubital groove posterior to the medial epicondyle. The nerve can become trapped in this groove or immediately after entering or exiting the groove.

The second place where the ulnar nerve can be compressed is the tunnel known as Guyon's canal on the inside of the wrist.

The ulnar nerve provides the feeling of the outer side of the middle finger with these two fingers by opening and closing the fingers, especially our ring and little fingers.


What are the causes of nerve compression in the elbow?

If the elbow bends excessively as a result of the reverse movements made depending on the bone structure of the people, the ulnar nerve will slide out of the tunnel and return again. The continuous passage of the nerve can cause wear on the nerve. Ulnar nerve can be compressed due to rheumatic diseases. Healing tissue in elbow fractures can press on the nerve. Cysts formed around the elbow may cause nerve compression by preventing the passage of the ulnar nerve into the tunnel. People who work in jobs that keep the elbow under pressure for a long time can often get nervous. Nerve compression may also occur by bending your elbow and lying on it for a long time.



Pain occurs frequently in the little and ring finger. The pain may radiate towards the inside of the elbow. The pain decreases over time and there is numbness and tingling sensation at night. Shaking the hand helps slow the pain. Initially  mild, the pain may worsen later on, especially with pronounced arm movements. In advanced stages, weakness and cramps in the fingers and a claw hand image may occur.



The diagnosis is made by a detailed history of the complaints and by investigating other causes that may lead to this condition. It should be considered that similar findings may also be due to hernia or narrowing in the neck. The diagnosis is confirmed by performing neck MRI and ENMG (nerve electrode) examinations.


When the nerve is damaged, it is not an organ that heals 100% completely. For this reason, the disease should be followed closely and the nerve damage should be intervened before it progresses. In the treatment of mild lesions, suggestions, medication, splints and rest may be beneficial. The continuation of the complaints should be surgically released where the nerve is compressed in case of progression of the disease.

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