Flexor Carpi Ulnaris Strain: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Function
What is Flexor Carpi Ulnaris and What is its Function?
The Flexor Carpi Ulnaris muscle is one of the many muscles present in the forearm and is prone to injury and strain. Anatomically describing, the anterior muscles present in the forearm have three layers which are the superficial layer, the intermediate layer, and the deep flexors. All these three layers are present in the flexor compartment of the forearm. The flexor carpi ulnaris muscle is present in the superficial layer of the muscles. This muscle stems from the medial epicondyle of the humerus. Apart from this, this muscle is additionally attached to the head of the ulna. Thus muscle enters at two wrist bones which are the pisiform bone and the hook of hamate. The blood supply to this muscle is maintained by the ulnar collateral arteries along with the small branches of the ulnar artery. This muscle is innervated by the ulnar nerve. Flexor carpi ulnaris muscle functions in coordination with the Extensor Carpi Ulnaris muscle. The function of these muscles is to facilitate flexion and adduction of the wrist.
Signs and Symptoms of Flexor Carpi Ulnaris Strain
In case if the Flexor Carpi Ulnaris muscle gets injured and strained, the affected individual will have the following symptoms:
- Pain in the wrist towards the pinky finger can be a symptoms of flexor carpi ulnaris strain
- Wrist pain along with pain in the inside half of the elbow
- Any bending, straightening or twisting motions of the wrist or elbow will result in pain
- The pain may also radiate up the forearm
- The individual suffering from flexor carpi ulnaris strain may also have symptoms of numbness and tingling in the ring and little fingers
What Can Cause Flexor Carpi Ulnaris Strain?
Some of the activities which can cause injury or strain to the Flexor Carpi Ulnaris muscle are:
- Activities which require a tight grip and repetitive twisting motion of the wrist can cause flexor carpi ulnaris strain.
- People who use tools requiring a tight grip like a hammer, screwdriver etc. can strain the Flexor Carpi Ulnaris muscle.
- People who use tools like a jackhammer can also injure the Flexor Carpi Ulnaris
- Athletes involved with sports like tennis and golf often at times strain the Flexor Carpi Ulnaris muscle
Risk Factors of Flexor Carpi Ulnaris Strain
Some of the medical conditions which can be caused due to a damaged Flexor Carpi Ulnaris muscle are:
- Golfers Elbow
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Ulnar neuropathy
- Peripheral neuropathy
- C5 radiculopathy
- Dupuytren contracture.
Treatment for Flexor Carpi Ulnaris Strain
When it comes to treating a strained flexor carpi ulnaris muscle causing pain in the wrist and the adjoining areas, the most preferred and recommended way is massaging the injured area or using supports or braces. Massaging can be done either using cold therapy or by utilizing heat. Wrist supports and braces are also quite useful in relieving pain caused due to flexor carpi ulnaris strain. All these treatments have been explained in detail below.
Cold Therapy Treatment for Flexor Carpi Ulnaris Strain: For treating a Strained Flexor Carpi Ulnaris using cold therapy, using cold therapy gels can be very effective in reliving pain and discomfort associated with it. Cold therapy tends to cool the inflamed area quickly and prevents development of swelling due to the cooling effect. To use this gel, gently rub it at the injured side both at the front and back starting just at the elbow going down all the way to the tip of the thumb.
Wrist Ice Wrap to Treat Flexor Carpi Ulnaris Strain: When an individual has flexor carpi ulnaris strain then just treating the thumb pain is not sufficient but the whole muscle needs to be treated. For this the Ice Wrist Wrap has been shown to be quite beneficial, as it covers the entire muscle and provides compression and helps in healing of the strained flexor carpi ulnaris muscle. To begin with, you can start wearing the wrap for about 20 minutes and then gradually increase the time. You can also adjust the wrap so as to cover the thumb as well. Also helpful can be using a frozen wash rag wrapped around the thumb along with using the wrap as this combination will completely cover the muscle and allow it to heal faster.
Wrist-Elbow Wraps to Treat Flexor Carpi Ulnaris Strain: The majority of the pain felt due to flexor carpi ulnaris strain is in the wrist and hand areas, it is also important to treat the muscle right from its origin which is from the elbow for better results. For this, a wrist-elbow ice wrap is quite a good option to relieve pain caused due to a damaged Flexor Carpi Ulnaris muscle. This can be used successfully by positioning the wrap around the wrist and base of thumb for relieving the discomfort in the area and gently moving the wrap towards the elbow such that the entire muscle right from the forearm to the wrist and thumb is wrapped. This allows complete healing of the muscle.
Warm Therapy to Treat Flexor Carpi Ulnaris Strain: There are a lot of gels readily available in the market which can be used to treat Flexor Carpi Ulnaris muscle pain. Such gels provide required warmth to the muscle which expedites healing process. Arthritis patients can use such gels for instant pain relief. The gel can be applied can be applied on the inside part of the elbow and the wrist region several times a day for maximum benefit. One must make sure to not use heating gels while simultaneously using ice or heat packs as this may lead to blistering of the skin.
Wrist Brace to Treat Flexor Carpi Ulnaris Strain: Braces also play an important role when it comes to healing a Strained Flexor Carpi Ulnaris muscle. Most of the times, people with a damaged Flexor Carpi Ulnaris muscle still use the hand which hampers healing of the muscle thus to avoid that a lot of wrist braces are available so as to prevent motion of the wrist and allowing sufficient time for the muscle to heal.
Arm Compression Sleeves: These have also been shown to be quite effective in relieving pain and discomfort caused due to Flexor Carpi Ulnaris Strain. These sleeves provide more support to the muscle and prevent it from any reinjury and also help in recovery. It is mostly used by people who have significant pain affecting their activities of daily living and athletes along with people who use tools quite often in their work.