Nerve entrapment is a group of disorders of the peripheral nerves. This disorder can cause pain and/or loss of motor or sensory function of the nerves due to chronic compression. Entrapped nerves may occur in the torso, limbs, and extremities, and happens most often where the nerves pass through narrow, tunnel-like structures. Nerve entrapment is also referred to colloquially as a pinched nerve.
When nerve entrapment happens in the hand and wrist, it is called Guyon’s canal syndrome; entrapment in the elbow is known as cubital tunnel syndrome. Both involve pinching of the ulnar nerve.
The ulnar nerve transmits electrical signals to muscles in the forearm and hand. It’s also responsible for sensation in the fourth and fifth fingers (ring and little fingers) of the hand, part of the palm, and the underside of the forearm.
Ulnar nerve entrapment (UNE) is the second most common entrapment neuropathy in the upper limbs, affecting up to 20% of all people. Only a small number of these cases will lead to symptoms.