What Is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome And When Should I Visit A Doctor

March 8th, 2019 Becki Andrus
Golfers Elbow Surgery

Most people who are reading this have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome, and there is also a great likelihood that many of you are also aware of the specific causes and symptoms of this condition.

However, that same level of knowledge probably does not exist with cubital tunnel syndrome, even though the symptoms that are experienced in both conditions can be similar. Understanding the causes and symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome can help you identify whether you are contending with this issue. This information can also keep you from creating additional health problems by not seeking medical assistance, and allowing the problem to intensify.

First, let’s review carpal tunnel syndrome, which is the condition that you are probably more familiar with. This takes place due to a narrowing of the tunnel that is located inside your wrist. This area consists of small bones in your wrist that are called carpal bones. This tunnel protects your median nerve, along with the tendons that are associated with your thumb and your fingers.

While any numbness, tingling or weakness that you might feel in your hand could easily indicate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, it is also possible that you are experiencing cubital tunnel syndrome.

What Is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome can cause similar symptoms in your hand, although it involves a different nerve than the one that is associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Your hand contains 3 nerves — the ulnar, radial and median. The median nerve was just discussed in the overview of carpal tunnel syndrome and is associated with feelings in your thumb and next two fingers. The radial nerve is connected with feelings in the back of your hand, and the ulnar nerve is associated with feelings in your ring finger and your pinky.

The ulnar nerve is also the location in which cubital tunnel syndrome can surface, and the symptoms that you will experience with this condition are pain and numbness in the little fingers and the ring finger. If you are dealing with weakness when you attempt to grip with these particularly fingers, then that is yet another indication that you could be dealing with this condition.

But discomfort from cubital tunnel syndrome can also manifest itself in your elbow. This occurs because the ulnar nerve progresses from your shoulder into your hand, which includes the region that is located near the skin’s surface at your elbow. This area is popularly referred to as your funny bone.

However, the funny bone is actually part of your ulnar nerve, and you are more vulnerable to experiencing this issue if you frequently lean on your elbow – especially if you do so on a hard surface. You are also more susceptible to dealing with this condition if you have your elbow bent for extended periods of time due to physical activity, as this creates more pressure on your ulnar nerve.

The risk for this to occur increases if you have previously experienced a fracture or dislocation of your elbow, or have contended with bone spurs or arthritis in that area. Swelling and cysts adjacent to the elbow joint can also enhance your chances of dealing with cubital tunnel syndrome.

When Should You Visit A Physician

Now that the causes and symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome have been outlined, it is recommended that you contact a physician if you believe that you might be experiencing cubital tunnel syndrome. You should certainly visit a physician if you are dealing with the symptoms that were mentioned in your elbow or your hand.

If you are experiencing cubital tunnel syndrome but choose to ignore the symptoms, it is important to know that your ability to use your hand properly will deteriorate as your fingers continue to lose their mobility. In some cases, there is also a risk of nerve damage by avoiding a trip to your doctor.

What A Doctor Will Do

Once you schedule an appointment with a doctor, he or she might discuss your medical history and the specific symptoms that you have been dealing with. Then, your physician may check your ability to make movements with your arm, hand, elbow, and wrist. He or she could then order x-rays or decide to test your nerves in the elbow to determine whether or not this condition is causing your discomfort.

If you are diagnosed with cubital tunnel syndrome, your physician may prescribe an anti-inflammatory in order to decrease the swelling near your ulnar nerve. There are also specific exercises involving arm movement that you can do at home which will help improve your situation. You could be given a brace to wear on your elbow, or physical therapy could also be recommended,  While non-surgical options will generally be the direction that your recovery will undertake, there are surgical procedures that sometimes occur in order to create your path toward a pain-free existence.

At Orthopedic Associates, We Are Here To Help

Whether you are dealing with pain in your elbow or hand, believe that you are experiencing the symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, or have any questions or concerns about this condition, the professionals at Orthopedic Associates are ready to provide you with the expertise that can only result from their 183 combined years of experience. This is beneficial in their ability to design effective treatment plans for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, along with any other issues that might be occurring with your hand or elbow.

Our specialists at Orthopedic Associates also treat a wide range of other elbow conditions, including:

  • Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
  • Elbow Bursitis
  • Growth Plate Injuries of the Elbow
  • Hyperextension Injury of the Elbow
  • Inflammation of the Biceps Tendon at the Elbow
  • Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
  • Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow)
  • Medial Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injury
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Elbow
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Overuse Injuries of the Elbow
  • Radial Tunnel Syndrome (Entrapment of the Radial Nerve)
  • Throwing Injuries of the Elbow
  • Triceps Tendonitis

Our orthopedic specialists are also highly experienced in performing multiple types of treatments and surgeries for the elbow including:

  • Absorbable Antibiotic Bead Treatment for Osteomyelitis
  • Anesthesia
  • Arthroscopic Debridement of the Elbow
  • Aspiration of the Olecranon Bursa
  • Cold Laser Therapy
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
  • Cubital Tunnel Release at the Elbow
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Medial Epicondylectomy
  • Medial Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction (Tommy John Surgery)
  • Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection Ove
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan
  • Radial Tunnel Release at the Elbow
  • Ulnar Nerve Transposition at the Elbow

Contact us today and begin your path to a pain-free life.




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