Understanding Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Cubital tunnel syndrome is pain associated to the ulnar nerve, or the “funny bone”. When the nerve, which starts at the side of your neck, crosses the elbow and runs down through your fingers, is overstretched, compressed or generally irritated, you may experience pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in your forearm, hands or fingers.
The Causes of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Next to carpel tunnel, this condition is one of the most common peripheral nerve compression syndromes. While in many cases the cause remains unknown, some reasons for cubital tunnel syndrome may include:
- Frequently leaning on the elbows
- Keeping arms bent for an extended period of time
- Repetitive arm movement or bending at the elbow
- Injury causing damage to the inside of the elbow
- Bone spurs
The Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
The symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome often mimic other health conditions such as elbow tendonitis. Always seek the help of a healthcare provider to confirm your diagnosis before seeking treatment. Here are some common indicators of cubital tunnel syndrome:
- Tingling or numbness in the hand, ring finger or little finger when bending the elbow.
- Experiencing increased feelings of pain, tingling and numbness in the arm or hand at night.
- Muscle weakness in the arm or hand that results in clumsiness.
- Pain located on the inside of your elbow.
Treatment Options for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Cubital tunnel syndrome can be a source of great discomfort for many individuals and in some extreme cases, may even result in the loss of function of the hand. While the most common treatment for this condition is to stop the activity that causes the problem, there are others ways you may be able to find some relief for the pain:
- Avoid repeated bending of the elbow and cease any activity that worsens the condition.
- Wear a splint or elbow brace at night to prevent movement and reduce further irritation.
- Use an elbow pad to keep your elbow from resting on hard surfaces.
- Take anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling.
- Implement gentle nerve gliding exercises into your daily routine to keep arms strong and flexible.
- A doctor may recommend steroid injections to reduce pain and swelling.
- The ulnar nerve can be decompressed safely with moderate sedation to facilitate excellent recovery of nerve function.
- In some cases, surgery may be performed to relieve the pressure on the nerve.
If you are experiencing pain, tingling or numbness in the arm or hand that does not get better with basic treatment and is beginning to interfere with your day-to-day life, be sure to contact your doctor immediately.
Contact us today to learn more about cubital tunnel syndrome or to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists. We’ll find a solution that works for you! Call us at (601) 366-1011.