Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when the ulnar nerve, which moves through the cubital tunnel (a tunnel of the ligament, muscle, and bone) on the within the elbow, is damaged and becomes swollen, distended, and irritated.
Cubital tunnel syndrome produces the pain that feels similar to the sensation you have when you hit the “funny bone” in the elbow. The “funny bone” in the elbow is not a bone but rather the ulnar nerve, a nerve that traverses the elbow. The ulnar nerve starts in the side of your neck collar and finishes in your fingers.
What causes cubital tunnel syndrome?
Cubital tunnel syndrome may transpire when a someone bends the elbows usually (when pulling, lifting, or reaching), lean on their elbow a lot, or has an injury to the region.
Arthritis, bone spurs, and previous fractures or dislocations of the elbow can also cause cubital tunnel syndrome.
In many instances, the cause is not understood.
What are the indications or Symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome?
The following are the most frequent symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome. However, each person may encounter symptoms uniquely. Symptoms may include:
- Tingling and numbness in hand and ring and little finger, particularly when the elbow is flexed
- Hand pain
- Weak grasp and clumsiness due to muscle deficiency in the injured arm and hand
- Aching pain on the within the elbow joints
The symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome may mirror other medical ailments or conditions, including medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow). Make sure you see a health care provider for an assessment and diagnosis.
Nerve conduction test. A test to discover how quickly signals transmit down a nerve to find a constriction or compression of the nerve.
Electromyogram (EMG). This test evaluates nerve and muscle function and may be used to test the forearm muscles managed by the ulnar nerve. If the muscles do not operate the way they should, it may be a symptom that there is a issue with the ulnar nerve.
X-ray. This is done to look at the bones of the elbow and see if you have arthritis or bone spurs in your elbow.
How can cubital tunnel syndrome be treated?
The most impactful approach for treating cubital tunnel syndrome is halting the action or movement that is causing the problem. Treatment may include:
Resting and holding off on any activity that exacerbates the condition, such as bowing the elbow
A foam elbow brace or splint is worn at during the night (to restrict movement and limit irritation) while sleeping
Utilizing an elbow pad (to guard against chronic irritation from hard surfaces)
Anti-inflammatory medications (such as naproxen or ibuprofen )
Nerve gliding activities and exercises
If these treatments do not accomplish the desired results, your health care provider may talk to you about:
Steroid injections to help decrease pain and inflammation
Can I prevent cubital tunnel syndrome?
To prevent cubital tunnel syndrome:
Keep your arms flexible and robust.
Try not to rest on your elbows – particularly on a hard surface.
Warm up before an activity that will use your arms in repetitive movements such as sports or exercise.
When should I talk to my doctor?
Call your healthcare provider if you have:
Pain or difficulty moving that affects your routine daily activities.
Pain doesn’t not subsist or improve or gets worse with treatment.
Weakness, tingling or numbness, within the arm or hand
Key Concepts about cubital tunnel syndrome
Cubital tunnel syndrome is a issue with the ulnar nerve, which moves through the inside of the elbow. It triggers pain that feels a lot like the pain you feel when you hit the “funny bone” in your elbow.
Cubital tunnel syndrome may occur when a person frequently bends the elbows, leans on their elbow continually, or has an injury to the area. Previous dislocations and fractures, bone spurs, and arthritis of the elbow can also cause it. In many situations, the cause is not fully understood.
The most common symptom of cubital tunnel syndrome is numbness, tingling, and pain in hand and ring and little finger, especially when the elbow is bent.
Cubital tunnel syndrome can be managed with rest and medication to reduce with pain and swelling. Exercises can help too. In some severe cases, surgery may be conducted.