Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Erin Nance, MD -  - Orthopedic Surgeon

Nance MD Hand Surgery

Erin Nance, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon & Hand and Upper Extremity Specialist located in Midtown East, New York, NY

Do you experience persistent pain in your elbow that worsens every time you bend it? You may have cubital tunnel syndrome, a condition caused by a compressed ulnar nerve. Without proper treatment, cubital tunnel syndrome can result in permanent damage and long-term pain. At Nance MD Hand Surgery in Midtown East, New York, Dr. Erin Nance offers accurate testing and treatment options to alleviate pain and restore your elbow’s functionality. Take advantage of the flexible scheduling options and book an appointment online or by phone.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Q & A

What is cubital tunnel syndrome?

One of the three main nerves in your arm is the ulnar nerve, which ranges from your neck down to the side of your palm near your little finger. This nerve provides feeling throughout the little finger and part of the ring finger next to it.

The ulnar nerve also controls the muscle movements of your hands that give you fine motor skills to pick up small objects, as well as controlling the larger forearm muscles that give you a strong grip.

The most common type of ulnar nerve compression occurs behind the inside of your elbow, creating a condition known as cubital tunnel syndrome.

What causes cubital tunnel syndrome?

Common causes of nerve compression include:

  • Cysts
  • Arthritis
  • Bone spurs
  • Nerve irritation
  • Fluid build up
  • Injury or trauma
  • Repetitive elbow motions
  • Leaning on your elbow for prolonged periods

You might be at increased risk for cubital tunnel syndrome if you had previous injuries to your elbow, including fractures or dislocations.

What are the symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome?

Common symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome can include:

  • Weakened grip
  • Poor finger coordination
  • Numbness or tingling in your little finger

These symptoms most often develop when your elbow is in a bent position. If there's long-term compression on the ulnar nerve, it can also result in the deterioration of your muscles. For this reason, it’s important to seek a comprehensive evaluation from Dr. Nance.

How is cubital tunnel syndrome diagnosed?

As part of the initial diagnostic process, Dr. Nance may recommend imaging tests, such as X-rays, to rule out other conditions.

Dr. Nance may also suggest an electromyography (EMG) test that measures the health of your muscles and nerves. This non-invasive test uses electrical signals to force your muscles to contract.

The information Dr. Nance gains from this test can help her determine the cause of your nerve compression or other nerve dysfunction.

What treatment options are available for cubital tunnel syndrome?

Dr. Nance offers non-surgical and surgical treatment options to alleviate pain and other symptoms. She may first try a brace to keep your elbow straight and reduce nerve compression.

If this therapy is ineffective, Dr. Nance may recommend surgery to relieve compression on your ulnar nerve.

To get relief from persistent nerve pain in your elbow, schedule an appointment online or by phone.