What Is Ulnar Deviation?
Holding a spoon, cutting up an apple or opening a jar can all be difficult tasks for those with Ulnar Deviation. Commonly caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), ulnar deviation is a deformity of the hand, where your fingers bend toward your pinky, while your wrist shifts toward the thumb side of your hand. Sometimes called ulnar drift, ulnar deviation is a progressive deformity that generally occurs over time.
What Are The Symptoms?
Triggered by inflammation of the large knuckles, ulnar deviation causes your fingers to bend towards the little finger side of your hand, while your wrist bones bend towards your thumb side. Early symptoms include difficulty in fully straightening your fingers at the large knuckles and a slight “windswept” look to your fingers. As the condition progresses it may be difficult to grip and pinch things, limiting your ability to use your hands over time.
What Can You Do About It?
While there is no direct research that shows wearing hand splints or practicing joint protection will prevent or correct ulnar deviation, there is research showing that splints can improve your hand strength and function. Splinting has also been shown to help reduce morning stiffness and pain.
Ways to prevent stress on your joints include:
• avoiding stress to the joints that are affected
• paying attention to the activities that cause your pain and modifying or avoiding those activities as necessary
• using equipment such as an electric can opener to help relieve stress and strain on your fingers and hands
Ulnar Deviation can be a major complication of Rheumatoid Arthritis and it is important to consult with your health care professional to have your condition evaluated. If your doctor or therapist recommends a wrist or finger splint, OMA has a number of splints that can help.
The Polycentric Hinged Ulnar Deviation Splint is for Ulnar Deviation that can be corrected with mild to moderate support. If you have strongly deviated fingers, we suggest the Radial Hinged Ulnar Deviation Splint. Both of these splints are intended for use during the day.
The Comforter Splint is a night-time splint. Resting your wrist and fingers at night in the Comforter Splint can lessen the effects of morning stiffness and swelling. (For optimal hand function, it is recommended splinting your wrist both during the day and overnight.)
3pp Oval-8 Finger Splints help to reduce stress on the joints on your fingers.
Please remember to always consult with your doctor before starting any course of treatment.