Ulnar wrist pain, Ulnar-sided wrist pain


Ulnar wrist pain refers to discomfort or pain experienced on the outer side of the wrist, which is the side closest to the little finger or pinkie finger. This kind of wrist pain can have many causes, like bone issues, tendon problems, or ligament injuries.

It is called ulnar wrist pain because it is near the ulna, one of the two bones in the forearm. Many injuries and medical condition can cause this, such as arthritis, overuse, infection, nerve injuries or compression, among others. Treatments are often administered depending on the cause.


Ulnar wrist pain can happen whether a person is resting or moving. Common symptoms include:

  • A popping or clicking sound with sharp pain during movement
  • Pain that gets worse when the wrist is twisted or gripped
  • Reduced wrist mobility, especially when rotating the forearm or moving the wrist toward the pinkie side
  • Loss of grip strength due to pain


Ulnar wrist pain can be challenging to diagnose because there are many potential causes. However, the most common causes are:

  • Arthritis: involves inflammation and stiffness in the wrist joint and can result from osteoarthritis (wear and tear), rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune condition), or gout/pseudo-gout (caused by crystal deposits).
  • Sudden impacts: Fractures can lead to ulnar wrist pain, either from recent breaks or old injuries to specific wrist bones like the ulnar styloid or pisiform. Falling onto an outstretched hand is a common way for wrist injuries to occur.
  • Nerve injuries or compression: This may cause ulnar wrist pain if there is damage or pressure on nerves, such as the ulnar nerve, either in the wrist or higher up in the arm or neck.
  • Repetitive stress: Overuse injuries due to repetitive motions or excessive strain can damage tendons and ligaments, leading to pain. Repeated wrist motion exercises can lead to stress fractures or inflammation of the surrounding tissues.
  • Infection: Often from previous injuries or underlying health issues, can also lead to ulnar wrist pain.

Risk factors

Several risk factors can increase the risk of having ulnar wrist pain, such as:

  • Engaging in sports: Some sports, like football, golf, tennis, and pickleball, can lead to wrist injuries due to either impact or repetitive stress.
  • Other medical conditions: Individuals who have gout, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or loose ligaments in general are susceptible.
  • Repetitive work: Work that requires awkward wrist positioning like carpentry or plumbing, and jobs that involve constant use of a computer mouse or keyboard, can increase the risk of ulnar wrist pain.