Ulnar Longitudinal Deficiency

What is ulnar longitudinal deficiency?

Ulnar longitudinal deficiency, also called ulnar dysplasia, is a condition in which the wrist is bent toward the pinky finger side of the hand. The forearm has two bones running through it: the ulna, on the pinky side, and the radius, on the thumb side. Ulnar longitudinal deficiency happens when the ulna and soft tissues of the hand develop differently in the womb. Depending on the severity, this condition may also impact the elbow, fingers, and thumb. Some children with ulnar longitudinal deficiency also have other orthopedic conditions, like scoliosis.

How is ulnar longitudinal deficiency diagnosed?

Sometimes, doctors can diagnose ulnar longitudinal deficiency on an ultrasound before birth. Other times, it is noticed at birth. Doctors will examine your baby to evaluate his or her arms, but also to check for other orthopedic conditions like scoliosis. An x-ray can help determine the severity of the condition.

How is ulnar longitudinal deficiency treated?

Most infants with ulnar longitudinal deficiency wear a splint and are treated with gentle stretching exercises to help their wrist and elbow move into a normal position and recover some range of motion. Your child’s doctor will show you how to perform these exercises at home. Some types of ulnar longitudinal deficiency can also be treated with surgery to improve hand and arm function.