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Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

What is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

Cubital tunnel syndrome is a common, painful, progressive condition that is caused by compression of the ulnar nerve at the elbow area.

Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

The common symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome include numbness and tingling sensation in the ring and little finger. Frequently, patients may also present with weakness of the hand with diminished grip strength.

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • As we age, tissue over the nerve can thicken and “pinch”/compress the nerve
  • Direct pressure on the nerve
  • Keeping the elbow bent for long periods (especially during sleep)
  • Subluxation: sometimes the nerve can snap over one of the elbow bones repeatedly during elbow flexion and result in nerve irritation

Conservative Treatment Options for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome may be treated using conservative approaches. The conservative treatments include:

  • Night time immobilization of the elbow
  • Rest
  • Avoid activities that tend to worsen the symptoms (elbow flexion)
  • Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Stretching exercises/nerve glides

Cubital Tunnel Release Surgery

If conservative treatment options fail to resolve the condition your surgeon may recommend surgery.

Cubital tunnel syndrome can be treated with Cubital Tunnel release surgery. The traditional surgery involves an incision on the inside of the elbow to release/un-pinch the nerve.

Sometimes moving the nerve to the front of the elbow (ulnar nerve transposition) is also recommended at the same time. This provides relief to those that experience subluxation, or snapping of the ulnar nerve.