Guyon’s canal syndrome, sometimes referred to as handlebar palsy, is caused by the entrapment of the ulnar nerve within a tunnel-like structure in the wrist known as Guyon’s canal. The Guyon canal is formed by two bones and the ligament that connects them. The ulnar nerve runs from the neck, down through the arm and into the hand and supplies feeling to the ring and pinky fingers. It also supports the muscles of the palm and thumb. When the ulnar nerve becomes damaged or compressed within the Guyon canal, it may result in pain, pressure, weakness and numbness in the hand, wrist and fingers.
Bicyclists are often diagnosed with Guyon’s canal syndrome from the constant pressure that the handlebars instill on the ulnar nerve within the wrist. In addition Guyon’s canal syndrome may be a result of pressure on the ulnar nerve caused by heavy gripping or twisting of the wrist from weight lifting, or repetitive wrist movements from manual labor or working in construction. It may also be caused by an injury to the wrist that causes swelling and pressure on the ulnar nerve, a fractured bone that pinches the nerve, or it may be a result of arthritis in the wrist.
The initial symptoms of Guyon’s canal syndrome may include numbness or tingling in the hand and fingers, which is often felt upon waking. Additional symptoms may include:
- Burning pain in the hand or wrist that may radiate up the arm
- Numbness in the ring and pinky fingers
- Weakness in the palm of the hand and thumb
- Difficulty gripping
- Inability to spread fingers apart or pinch index finger and thumb together
Guyon canal injections are an effective method of treatment for the symptoms of Guyon’s canal syndrome. Steroids are injected directly into the ulnar nerve to reduce swelling and ease pressure. The injections help to minimize inflammation and as the inflammation decreases, pressure is relieved. As a result, patients experience a decrease in symptoms such as pain, numbness, weakness or tingling. Symptoms may subside within a few days and the results of the injection may last for a few weeks or up to a few months. Guyon canal injections are considered a safe procedure with patients experiencing significant relief of problematic symptoms.
Allied Pain professionals have the expertise to assist you in establishing a successful treatment plan.