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Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

What Is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a nerve entrapment condition affecting the ulnar nerve at the elbow. Numbness and tingling of the small and ring fingers is the most common symptom.

What Are The Causes Of 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 Signs And 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.

What Are The Risk Factors Of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

You may be more likely to develop cubital tunnel syndrome if you have suffered previous injuries to the elbow area, including:

  • Fractures
  • Dislocations
  • Bone spurs
  • Arthritis
  • Swelling
  • Cysts

Your risk may also be increased by obesity, activities involving repetitive bending of the elbow (including sports actions such as golfing or throwing a baseball), or frequently holding your elbow in a flexed position for long periods of time, as in talking on the phone. One study found that workers who routinely use vibrating tools like sanders and jackhammers have a higher risk of developing upper arm nerve issues, with cubital tunnel syndrome being among the most common. Night symptoms are caused by sleeping with the elbow in a flexed position.

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 Are The Possible Treatments?

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.

Meet Dr. Erin Nance

Dr. Erin Nance specializes in orthopedic hand and upper extremity surgery, as well as traditional orthopedic services. Dr. Nance takes her time with every patient in her Midtown East, New York office, ensuring everyone gets the care and attention they deserve. Learn More »

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