Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital Tunnel SyndromeWhat is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
Cubital tunnel syndrome is a compression of the Ulnar nerve (Funny Bone) at the elbow. Patients with this syndrome usually complain of numbness and tingling in the ring and small fingers, clumsiness of the hand, and weak grip. Some also experience pain in the elbow, arm and hand. Symptoms are often aggravated by bending the elbow or resting on the elbow for long periods of time.

What causes Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
The cause is most often not known. Prolonged periods of elbow bending may bring on the symptoms. Injuries to the elbow may lead to scaring and compression of the nerve.

How is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome diagnosed?
Your Doctor can make this diagnosis by history and physical exam. Nerve conduction studies may be ordered to confirm or establish the severity of your problem.

How is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome treated?
Initial treatment consists of elbow padding to protect the nerve and night time splinting. Pressure around the nerve is greatest when the elbow is bent. Therefore, wearing a splint at night prevents sleeping with the elbow bent, and thus allows the nerve to rest. In addition, your Doctor may discuss modifications to your work or other activities to prevent long periods of resting on a bent elbow. In most cases these simple changes will relieve the symptoms. Physical therapy is not usually helpful for this condition.

Cubital Tunnel SyndromeSurgery may be recommended when the above treatments fail or if your condition is too severe. The surgery is outpatient and is performed with local or general anesthesia (your choice). The results of surgery vary depending on the severity of your problem. Most patients experience some immediate relief of symptoms followed by a gradual improvement in remaining symptoms over several months. Patient can return to light activity within a few days and can usually resume heavy activity in 4 to 6 weeks. Ask your Doctor for more details.