Ulnar impaction syndrome

Ulnar impaction syndrome is a condition in which one of the forearm bones (ulna) is too long relative to the other (radius). This results in excessive pressure on the ulnar side of the wrist and causes pain, and wear and tear.

What causes ulnar impaction syndrome?

Most often, it is congenital which means you were born with it. However, it becomes symptomatic when wear and tear of the ligaments and cartilage appear over time, in young adults. Sometimes ulnar impaction syndrome can be secondary to shortening of the radius after a fracture.

What are the symptoms?

Ulnar side wrist pain, with ulnar deviation of the wrist and gripping. Twisting of the wrist may also cause pain.

How to diagnose it?

A history of the injury is important in assisting the doctor in properly diagnosing the condition. Clinical examination will show tenderness on the ulnar aspect of the wrist. X-rays, MRI and CT scans will be required to assess the cartilage and the ligaments of the wrist.

Functional treatment

Anti-inflammatory medication and sometimes cortisone injections can be helpful. Physiotherapy can be of some help.

Surgery

Surgical shortening of the ulna and debridement of the torn ligaments and cartilage can be necessary.

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