Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
What is cubital tunnel syndrome?
Cubital tunnel syndrome is when the Ulnar Nerve (your funny bone) is compressed in its tunnel on the inside of the elbow. There are many causes for this to occur, most of which get worse with the elbow in a flexed position.
What are the symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome?
Most patients suffering from cubital tunnel syndrome complain of pain, tingling and numbness in the forearm down into their little and ring finger.
In severe cases it may lead to weakness in the hand and obvious guttering on the back of the hand. These symptoms are usually intermittent at first, associated with positions of your elbow, but become constant as it progresses. If left untreated can lead to permanent nerve damage to your hand.
How do you treat cubital tunnel syndrome?
Sometimes Cubital tunnel syndrome will improve spontaneously. But most of the time will require some treatments. Initially the non-operative methods include:
If this all fails, or in severe cases surgery is recommended. This involves a release of the “tunnel”, where the “roof” is opened up. This is a small day procedure with an incision on the inside of the elbow. The risks are very small and postoperatively you have most of the use of your hand and elbow immediately, with full use of the arm at 2-4 weeks. Sometimes once the nerve is released it becomes unstable, in these instances the nerve is moved out of its gutter. This does not change your recovery.