Ulnar wrist pain


Ulnar wrist pain occurs on the side of the wrist opposite the thumb, where the ulna, one of the two forearm bones, is located. The intensity and nature of wrist discomfort vary according to its origin. Ulnar wrist pain may result from a range of injuries, encompassing issues involving bones, tendons, and ligaments. Many injuries and medical condition can cause this, such as arthritis, overuse, nerve injuries or compression, infection, among others. Treatment approaches are typically determined by the underlying 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 twisting the wrist or gripping objects.
  • Reduced strength in the hand when gripping firmly, accompanied by pain.
  • Restricted motion in the wrist, particularly during forearm rotation and lateral movement towards the pinky side (ulnar deviation).


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 in the joint).
  • Sudden impacts: Falling onto an outstretched hand is a frequent cause of wrist injuries, leading to conditions such as sprains, strains, and fractures.
  • Repetitive stress: Repetitive wrist motions in various activities can lead to inflammation of the tissues surrounding the joint or even stress fractures. The likelihood of injury rises when these movements are sustained for prolonged periods without breaks.
  • Nerve injuries or compression: Damage to or compression of nerves in the wrist, or further up in the arm or neck, can lead to irritation of the ulnar nerve.

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.
  • 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.
  • Other medical conditions: Individuals who have gout, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or loose ligaments in general are susceptible.