What is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
The ulnar nerve is an important nerve. The ulnar nerve starts in the neck and runs to the fingers. The ulnar nerve passes through the cubital tunnel—a narrow space on the medial (inside) part of the elbow. Cubital tunnel syndrome is compression of the ulnar nerve in the cubital tunnel.
Cubital tunnel syndrome is caused by chronic elbow pressure. Constantly leaning on the elbow and constantly bending the elbow are common causes. Cubital tunnel symptoms may include:
- Tingling and/or numbness in the 4th and 5th fingers
- Hand weakness
- Elbow and/or forearm pain
Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey (OICJ) specialists diagnose and treat cubital tunnel syndrome. All specialists are fellowship trained and board-certified. A medical history review, physical examination, and nerve conduction study are used to make an accurate diagnosis. A customized treatment plan is prescribed.
How is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Treated?
Nonsurgical treatment options treat most cases of cubital tunnel syndrome. Many treatment options are available. A customized treatment plan usually includes a combination of the following:
- Rest and ice. Quickly decrease nerve inflammation and pain.
- Towel wrapping. A soft towel placed between the elbow and a hard surface takes the pressure off the nerve.
- Bracing. A day and/or night brace keeps the elbow straight and takes the pressure off the nerve.
- Hand therapy. Forearm, wrist, and hand strengthening and stretching exercises promote proper elbow function.
- Anti-inflammatory medications. Over-the-counter and prescription medications decrease inflammation and pain.
When symptoms do not respond to nonsurgical treatment options, an OICJ specialist may recommend surgery. A cubital tunnel release decompresses the nerve. Symptoms improve very quickly. A splint is worn after surgery. Physical therapy may be prescribed.