What are the possible causes of ulnar wrist pain?

Many different injuries and medical conditions can cause pain on the outside of your wrist. They include:

  • Arthritis. Inflammation (swelling) and stiffness in the wrist joint. This may include osteoarthritis (wear and tear of the cartilage of bones in the wrist joint), inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, or arthritis due to crystal deposits in the joint from gout or pseudo-gout.
  • Fractures. Broken wrist or hand bones, or the end result of old fractures involving the ulnar styloid, hook of hamate or pisiform bones.
  • Nerve injuries or compression. Damage to or pressure on nerves in the wrist, or higher in the arm or neck, resulting in irritation of the ulnar nerve.
  • Overuse. Damaged tendons and ligaments due to repeated hand and arm motions or injuries.
  • Triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) injury. Tears or fraying in the tissues that connect the ulna to other parts of the wrist, often from a fall onto the wrist, or multiple repetitive twisting injuries. This can also result from a developmental difference in the length of the ulna compared with the adjacent radius in the forearm.
  • Ulnar impaction syndrome. Wear and tear of cartilage and ligaments, caused by extra pressure when the ulna is longer than the other forearm bone.
  • Growths. Masses including ganglion cysts (noncancerous tumors).
  • Ulnar artery thrombosis. Blood clot in the ulnar artery.
  • Kienbock’s disease. Loss of blood supply leading to the death of the lunate bone on the ulnar side of the wrist.
  • Infection. From a prior penetrating injury or underlying condition that lowered resistance to developing an infection.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy