Ulnar Nerve Entrapment and Tennis Elbow
Is it possible that a tennis elbow injury could lead to and cause ulnar nerve entrapment?
What about the other way around?
Can ulnar nerve entrapment increase your risk of developing one of the most common repetitive stress injuries – tennis elbow?
These are common questions that I routinely get via email, so I wanted to address these questions in a blog post to help provide some insight and helpful advice.
First let’s define what exactly is ulnar nerve entrapment.
Ulnar nerve entrapment is basically when the ulnar nerve gets trapped/pinched up against the large bone in your upper arm(humerus bone) and as a result becomes inflamed.
The ulnar nerve is one of the three main nerves in your arm and it runs from underneath your collarbone all the way down the inside of your arm, across the elbow, down your forearm and finally spreads out into your ring and little fingers.
In order for you to suffer from ulnar nerve entrapment, your elbow has to receive some sort of blunt force trauma or injury.
You may have recently suffered an elbow fracture, dislocation or an injury such as tennis elbow.
Many people become confused about ulnar nerve entrapment simply because the pain and symptoms they report are mainly tingling sensations in the hand and fingers and not immediately in the elbow region.
As a result, it’s easy to overlook where the actually problem originates – in your elbow.
Tennis elbow is a repetitive stress injury that affects millions of people around the world every year.
You don’t have to be a tennis player in order to suffer a tennis elbow injury but people who participate in racket sports are in the high risk category.
Tennis elbow can really affect anyone who performs repetitive tasks on a daily/weekly basis that requires a tight grip on an object to perform a task combined with excessive wrist and elbow rotation.
For example, a carpenter using a screwdriver, hammer, power tools day in and day out.
Even hairdressers who use scissors are in the high risk category. So are cooks, golfers, gardeners, baseball players and even business men and women who carry a briefcase on a daily basis can suffer from tennis elbow.
Many tennis elbow sufferers have swelling and inflammation of the elbow.
And it’s this swelling and inflammation that can put pressure on your ulnar nerve and can possible lead to and cause ulnar nerve entrapment.
The confusion sets in between the two conditions simply because the pain and symptoms reported by sufferers are very similar in nature.
Some of the common symptoms of both tennis elbow and ulnar nerve entrapment include:
- A decrease in grip and hand strength overtime
- Frequently drop and fumble with things
- Elbow pain when required to have a tight grip on an object to perform a task(ie: using a screwdriver)
But there is one symptom that really sets the two apart.
If you are suffering from ulnar nerve entrapment then you will have pain and tenderness on the inside of your elbow. On the other hand, if you are suffering from tennis elbow, your pain is located on the outside of your elbow and upper forearm.
Other common tennis elbow symptoms can include arm stiffness and difficulty in extending and straightening your arm(especially in the morning), arm pain performing simple tasks such as shaking someones hand, turning a doorknob or difficulty in even holding a coffee mug.
Tennis elbow starts out innocently enough as a dull pain and gradually gets worse over time if you choose to ignore the pain.
Catching this terrible injury in it’s early stages really is key if you want to avoid this terrible, debilitating injury and fully recover.
Luckily, you don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars of your hard earned cash on doctors or physiotherapy appointments. All it really takes to completely cure your tennis elbow are 5 simple steps that anyone can do from the comfort of your own home without any special exercise equipment, while watching your favorite television show.