Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when the ulnar nerve — which runs on the inside and posterior part of the elbow — experiences compression. This compression causes tingling or irritation throughout the arm.

What You Need To Know About Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

What Is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

The ulnar nerve extends from your neck down to your fingers. This nerve sends signals from your brain to the muscles in your forearm and hand. It also helps create sensations in the underside of your arm, your ring and pinky fingers, and part of your palm.

Because it travels such a long distance, there are many opportunities for interference. For instance, when this nerve crosses your elbow, it can become compressed. Compression of the ulnar nerve is known as cubital tunnel syndrome.

Getting relief for cubital tunnel syndrome starts with a visit to Resurgens Orthopaedics. Schedule an appointment now at one of our many Metro Atlanta locations!

What Causes Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

While there is no single cause of cubital tunnel syndrome, it is usually caused by compression of the nerve at the level of the elbow. Elbow compression can often be exacerbated by the posture or position of the elbow, such as excessive elbow flexion, as can happen when talking on the phone.

Some people may experience cubital tunnel syndrome if they use their elbows to pull, reach, or lift objects. Cubital tunnel syndrome can also be related to bone spurs, arthritis, or previous injury to the elbow.

Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome include:

  • Numbness that involves the little finger and half the ring finger (a 'funny bone" feeling).

  • Weakness of grasp or grip.

  • Loss of control of fine motor skills.

  • Wasting or atrophy of small muscles in the hand.

  • Inability to grab objects.

  • Feeling heightened symptoms during the evening.

How is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed?

During your consultation at Resurgens Orthopaedics, a physician will examine the sources of your elbow pain. They will ask you questions about your family and medical history. You may experience slight discomfort as your physician asks you to demonstrate activities that cause your symptoms.

The symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome may mirror those of other conditions like golfer's elbow. To pinpoint the exact cause of your symptoms, your physician will use diagnostic imaging. We will use the data from these scans to plan your ideal treatment.

Treatment for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

There are many options for cubital tunnel syndrome treatment. The first step in your treatment should be to stop activities that cause your symptoms. Early recognition of the symptoms can often be reversed with conservative management. Treatment can include the use of anti-inflammatories, avoiding aggravating positions, and bracing the elbow in extension, especially when sleeping.

Severe cases of cubital tunnel syndrome may require surgical decompression. Outpatient procedures like medial epicondylectomy can provide effective cubital tunnel syndrome treatment. During medial epicondylectomy a physician removes a small portion of your elbow to help alleviate compression of the ulnar nerve. After surgical decompression, once postoperative pain has resolved, patients can slowly resume most activities, and many don't require physical therapy.

Because nerves only reconstitute function at a millimeter a day, some symptoms may not resolve for well over a year, even when treated appropriately. Full recovery is not always assured, depending on the severity of the presenting symptoms.

The elbow pain specialists at Resurgens Orthopaedics can help you get the best cubital tunnel syndrome treatment available! Schedule an appointment with a physician near you now!

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