What Is Ulnar Deviation of the Hand?

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.  Read on to learn about the symptoms and treatment options for ulnar deviation.

Symptoms of Ulnar Deviation

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
  • A slight “windswept” look to your fingers

Other Symptoms:

  • As the condition progresses it may be difficult to grip and pinch things, limiting your ability to use your hands over time.

Treatment for Ulnar Deviation

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

Hand Splints for Ulnar Deviation

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.

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, there are 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.

polucentric hinged splint for ulnar deviation
Polycentric Hinged Ulnar Deviation Splint

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.

Radial Hinged Ulnar Deviation Splint
Radial Hinged Ulnar Deviation Splint

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.)

comforter night time splint for resting ulnar deviation
Comforter Splint

Oval-8 Finger Splints help to reduce stress on the joints on your fingers.

oval-8 finger splints for crooked fingers
Oval-8 Finger Splints

Please remember to always consult with your doctor before starting any course of treatment.

NOW AVAILABLE –  The Oval-8 Combo Set!  The Combo Set with 5 consecutive sizes are a great solution if you’re unsure which size to order, need to wear them on more than one finger or joint or to wear over bandages or cushioning.

oval-8 combo set with 5 consecutive sizes

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Looking for More Information on Splints for Ulnar Deviation? 

Click on the images below

Polycentric Hinged Ulnar Deviation Splint
Polycentric Hinged Ulnar Deviation Splint
Radial Hinged Ulnar Deviation Splint
Radial Hinged Ulnar Deviation Splint

Comforter Splint - For Nighttime
Comforter Splint – For Nighttime

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Our blogs are educational in nature and are not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Because your condition is unique to you, it is recommended that you consult with your health care provider before attempting any medical or therapeutic treatments. We are always happy to answer questions about products mentioned in our blogs, however, we cannot provide a diagnosis or medical advice.


3 comments on “What Is Ulnar Deviation of the Hand?

    1. Thank You! I worked in Physical Therapy, as an Aide II
      for 30yrs & i feel i medically
      understand this.

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