Ulnar Nerve Release - Dr. Johans in Boise

Ulnar Nerve Release - Dr. Johans in Boise

Ulnar Nerve Surgery - Dr. Johans in Boise

Are you experiencing hand numbness and/or weakness that needs specialist attention? Dr. Tim Johans, an experienced and highly-rated neurological specialist with hundreds of 5-star reviews on Google and Healthgrades. Dr. Johans is a Diplomat of the American Board of Neurological Surgeons and Pain Management. He is also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Board of Neurological Surgeons.

Where is the Ulnar Nerve?

The ulnar nerve is a vital nerve located in the back and inside of the forearm and hand. It runs from the neck down to the hand, along the inner side of the elbow and forearm, before reaching the wrist. This nerve sends motor signals to control muscle movements and sensory information such as touch, pressure, and temperature to the little(pinky) and ring fingers, and that side of the hand.

Injury or compression to this nerve can cause numbness/tingling sensations in your hand's ring finger and pinky (little) finger; hence its colloquial name, "the funny bone." Additionally, injury to this nerve may lead to profound functional loss of movement in your hand.

Signs of ulnar nerve damage can range from mild to severe and are often described as a hand that resembles a claw due to the pinky/little finger curving inwards. This is often accompanied by pain in the wrist, elbow, or forearm, as well as weakness in the hand that impairs the ability to grab objects, type, write or even button a shirt properly. Additionally, muscle loss is common in the pinky, ring finger, and forearm areas, accompanied by numbness and tingling sensations.

An ulnar nerve injury is a common nerve damage caused by anything from repetitive motion to direct trauma. Common ulnar nerve injuries include:

  • Pinched Ulnar Nerve: the nerve is compressed between two bones, such as the elbow or humerus, causing temporary pain and numbness in the forearm and hand.
  • Neuropathic Ulnar Nerve Pain: when the protective myelin sheath around the ulnar nerve has been irreversibly damaged. Symptoms can include burning and tingling sensations and loss of sensation in the hands or fingers.
  • Ulnar Nerve Entrapment: the surrounding tissues compress on the ulnar nerve, which can cause Cubital Tunnel or Ulnar Tunnel Syndrome.
    • Cubital tunnel syndrome is where compression of the ulnar nerve at your elbow causes weakness, numbness, and pain in your forearm, little finger, or ring finger.
    • Ulnar tunnel syndrome happens when there is compression of the ulnar tunnel at your wrist, leading to pain or numbness near your little finger.
  • Ulnar Nerve Dislocation: trauma causes displacement of one end of the ulnar nerve from its normal anatomic position resulting in impaired function.

The exact cause of ulnar nerve pain are unknown, but some potential causes include:

  • Accidents or trauma
  • Arthritis
  • Broken bones
  • Bone spurs
  • Complications from surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome or shoulder fracture
  • Diabetes
  • Dislocation of the elbow joint
  • Pressure from casts, splints, or crutches.
  • Sleeping with your elbows bent for extended periods
  • Tumors or cysts (rare)

Athletes in baseball, golf, or tennis are at higher risk of ulnar nerve damage due to the constant throwing, swinging, and serving motions that require a lot of arm movement. Similarly, people who frequently bicycle, especially over rough terrain or for long distances, may experience ulnar nerve damage due to the pressure and strain on their arms during a ride. Construction workers may also be more likely to suffer from this injury due to heavy lifting and repetitive motion over extended periods.

Additionally, smokers will be at a greater risk of developing ulnar nerve issues. People who use a keyboard often can also experience ulnar nerve damage if their wrists are bent. People who lift heavy weights regularly are also susceptible due to the large forces exerted on their arms when performing lifting exercises. Frequentl cell phone use with improper handling positions places stress on the ulnar nerves in the arms. Lastly, sleeping with your arms bent puts significant pressure on the ulnar nerves, which can cause damage over time.

Fortunately, several non-surgical treatments are available for those suffering from ulnar pain. Stretches provide relief by increasing circulation and relaxing the muscles in the forearm, allowing them to heal. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are also commonly used to reduce inflammation and manage chronic pain. Making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy diet, and doing daily exercise, can be helpful.

Additionally, incorporating more ergonomic movements and positions into your daily routine can help prevent the recurrence of ulnar pain by providing support to the joints and tendons in the forearm. Braces can also be worn to keep your wrist, elbow, and shoulder aligned while sleeping or during activities that increase discomfort. Ultimately, combining these methods may be necessary to relieve ulnar pain without requiring surgery.

If you are experiencing unrelenting pain, numbness, or weakness in your elbow or forearm, it is important to see Dr. Johans as soon as possible. Ulnar nerve problems can be serious and lead to further muscle loss and continued damage to the nerve over time if not treated quickly.

Dr. Johans can provide a physical examination, imaging tests, and an appropriately targeted treatment plan for your unique condition. It is important to visit him as quickly as possible to receive a proper diagnosis and management of ulnar nerve pain before it progresses. Any loss of sensation can be permanent if left untreated.

When considering surgery for ulnar nerve pain, it is important to consider various factors. Pain and numbness that do not decrease with non-surgical treatments, such as stretching and heat or cold therapy, are usually signs that a patient may need surgery. Additionally, progressive numbness or any weakness of the fingers or hand during rotation (like when opening jars) are another sign that surgery is needed.

Surgery can help reduce the symptoms associated with ulnar nerve pain. However, it should only be considered after all other treatment possibilities have been exhausted. While surgery carries certain risks, modern techniques are minimally invasive and greatly reduce recovery time while providing long-term relief from ulnar nerve pain.

Ulnar Nerve Surgery is an incredibly successful procedure for treating the pain associated with this nerve. A recent study reported that, on average, 89% of patients who choose to undergo Ulnar Nerve Surgery experience a significant decrease in the intensity of their pain. For some individuals, the pain is alleviated ro such an extent that they can regain full mobility of their elbow and wrist joints.

Ulnar nerve surgery is a procedure meant to reduce pain and prevent further numbness and weakness in the arm, hand, and fingers caused by the compression of the ulnar nerve. It can maximize the potential for the return of sensation and strength.

Dr. Johans aims to decompress the affected ulnar nerve while preserving its function. This includes releasing pressure from nearby muscles or ligaments that may be causing entrapment.

Recovery from ulnar nerve surgery is typically quite swift, with patients often experiencing very little pain or discomfort. Surgery of this type is minimally invasive, and its effectiveness can be seen in the surgical precision of Dr. Johans. In most cases, physical therapy after the surgery is rarely needed.

Patients need to take care of themselves post-surgery and follow Dr. Johans's directions to promote a successful recovery. Pain medications may be prescribed for several days after surgery, and hot/cold compresses can help manage any lingering discomfort. It is essential that patients avoid strenuous activities, such as heavy lifting, running, or sports during recuperation, instead focusing on slow movements and gentle stretching that can help support healing and speed up recovery time. It is not unusual to have numbness in the affected arm immediately after surgery which should slowly improve over time as the nerves recover. After a few weeks of rest and careful monitoring of your treatment plan, you should be back to normal.

While this surgery is relatively minor, there are still potential risks. Although uncommon, wound infection is one possible complication that can occur during or after an ulnar nerve surgery. There is also the possibility of nerve damage occurring during the operation due to incorrect handling of the nerve or excessive pressure on it.

However, with an experienced surgeon like Dr. Johans, who frequently performs this type of procedure, these risks are greatly reduced. In fact, no patient of his has ever developed a deep infection or ulnar nerve damage from this surgery.

Ulnar Nerve Syndrome Surgery by Dr. Johans

Dr. Johans is a highly experienced, board-certified neurosurgeon and pain management specialist with exceptional expertise in neck pain, lower back pain, carpal tunnel and ulnar nerve syndrome, and cervical arthroplasty. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Neurological Surgeons and Pain Management and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Board of Neurological Surgeons.

If you have any of these conditions or suspect that you may be suffering from any other neurological disorder, please get in touch with Dr. Johans at 208-327-5600 for a consultation to discuss which treatment plan may be right for you.

Dr. Johans is committed to providing personalized care tailored to meet the needs and effective treatment options to achieve maximum relief from discomfort. With over 30 years of experience in neurological surgery and pain management treatments, patients can trust that he will provide the highest standard of care available so they can get back on track with life as quickly as possible!