Wartenberg Sign

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 Wartenberg Sign

What is Wartenberg Sign?

Wartenberg Sign is a neurological test that is used in evaluation of Ulnar nerve motor weakness.

Ulnar Nerve Other Tests:

How do you perform the Wartenberg’s Sign?

The patient is asked to hold his fingers fully adducted with metacarpophalangeal joint (MCP), proximal interphalangeal joints (PIP), and distal interphalangeal joints (DIP) joints fully extended.

Wartenberg Sign
Positive Wartenberg Sign in the right hand

What does a positive Wartenberg Sign mean?


This sign could be confused with Wartenberg Syndrome or Cheralgia Paresthetica, in which the Superficial radial nerve becomes compressed as it comes superficial at brachioradialis and ECRB interval in distal forearm causing sensory disturbance, it’s characterized by pain and tenderness 1 to 2 cm proximal to the radial styloid, and radicular pain distally along the course of the superficial radial nerve elicited by percussion.

Ulnar nerve

Ulnar nerve (C8,T1) is a branch of the medial cord of brachial plexus.

It gives motor branches to:

  1. Flexor carpi ulnaris muscle (FCU).
  2. Ulnar half of flexor digitorum profundus muscle (FDP).
  3. Hypothenar muscles.
  4. Abductor digiti minimi muscle.
  5. Opponens digiti minimi muscle.
  6. Flexor digiti minimi muscle.
  7. Interossei muscles.
  8. 3rd and 4th lumbricals muscles.
  9. Adductor pollicis muscle.
  10. And sometimes deep head of flexor pollicis brevis muscle.

Sensory distribution is over ulnar 1 ½ fingers and ulnar aspect of hand.


  1. Kilgus M, Burg D, Loss M, Weishaupt D, Meyer VE. Das Wartenberg-Zeichen des Nervus ulnaris. Ein Beitrag zur Pathophysiologie und Differenzialdiagnose1 [Wartenberg’s Sign of Ulnar Nerve Lesion. A Contribution to Pathophysiology and to the Differential Diagnosis]. Handchir Mikrochir Plast Chir. 2003 Jul;35(4):251-8. German. doi: 10.1055/s-2003-42134. PMID: 12968223.
  2. Wartenberg R: Cheiralgia paresthetica (isolierte neuritis des ramus superficialis nervi radialis). Ztschr Ges Neurol Psychiatr 141:145–155,1932.
  3. Mark Dutton, Pt . Dutton’s Orthopaedic Examination, Evaluation, And Intervention, 3rd Edition Book.
  4. Millers Review of Orthopaedics, 7th Edition Book.
  5. Campbel’s Operative Orthopaedics 13th edition book.

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