What is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

What is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

You've likely heard of carpal tunnel syndrome, but did you know you can have a similar problem in your elbow? Cubital tunnel syndrome is a problem that compresses the ulnar nerve in the elbow.

The ulnar nerve is an essential part of your arm that innervates many of the muscles in the forearm and hand. When you have cubital tunnel syndrome, doing anything with your hands, including typing, isn't easy.

At Orthopaedic Specialists in Nashville, Tennessee, Dr. Brandon Downs treats various orthopaedic issues, including cubital tunnel syndrome. Dr. Downs has years of experience providing cutting-edge treatments to reduce pain and improve his patient's lives.

What is the cubital tunnel?

The cubital tunnel is similar to the carpal tunnel, except for the elbow. It's a narrow tunnel comprising various tissues where the ulnar nerve passes through.

You know that bony bump on your elbow that you inevitably hit, and it causes you to laugh and cry? That bump is the medial epicondyle, which is where the cubital tunnel passes under.

Cubital tunnel syndrome happens when the tissues in the cubital tunnel compress the ulnar nerve. The nerve is very vulnerable to injury or entrapment under the medial epicondyle because the cubital tunnel is thin in that area.

The facts on the ulnar nerve

The ulnar nerve is the problem in cubital tunnel syndrome. It's one of the three primary nerves in the arm, along with the radial and median nerves.

Your ulnar nerve begins in the neck and continues down the arms into your hands. It sends messages from the brain to the forearm and hands, allowing you to feel and move.

The ulnar nerve is responsible for the electric shock when you hit your "funny bone." That pain isn't a bone, though; it's compression of the ulnar nerve under the medial epicondyle.

Your forearm muscles and fingers on the pinky side of the hand move because of the ulnar nerve. Living with cubital tunnel syndrome affects the muscles in the forearm and hand, making it difficult to perform specific movements and fine motor skills.

Symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome has various signs and symptoms that may affect the area around the elbow, forearm, or hands. It happens for different reasons, including changes in the soft tissues around the elbow or overstretching the nerve.

The symptoms of cubital tunnel vary from person to person and usually worsen without treatment. Seek help from Dr. Downs if you notice any of the following symptoms:

These symptoms are usually more apparent when your elbow is bent. For instance, you may have worse symptoms when driving or holding a phone to your ear.

Am I at risk for cubital tunnel syndrome?

Cubital tunnel syndrome can happen to anyone, but certain people are at a higher risk. The significant factors that contribute to cubital tunnel syndrome include:

If you have a job where you need to keep your elbows bent for long periods, you're also at risk for cubital tunnel syndrome.

When you notice numbness or tingling in the hands or have elbow pain, seeing Dr. Downs is a good idea. He carefully evaluates your symptoms to determine if the cubital tunnel is the issue behind the symptoms.

He may offer physical therapy or injections to provide relief and long-term pain management for cubital tunnel syndrome.

Request an appointment with Dr. Downs or call Orthopaedic Specialists today for cubital tunnel syndrome. You can also request a consultation using the convenient online booking tool.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What is Recovery Like After Knee Replacement Surgery?

What is Recovery Like After Knee Replacement Surgery?

A knee replacement may be the next step in treatment for painful arthritis that hasn't responded to other treatments — but what's the recovery like? Read on to learn more about knee replacement surgery and what to expect during the recovery process.
My Knees Always Hurt: Can Physical Therapy Help?

My Knees Always Hurt: Can Physical Therapy Help?

When your knees are constantly painful, you can't get anything done or enjoy life – but what can you do? Physical therapy may be a good option. Keep reading to learn how physical therapy exercises ease knee pain and improve joint functionality.

Four Benefits of PRP Injections After an Injury

Sports injuries happen and can keep you from your normal activities and playing the sports you love – which is why PRP is an excellent option. Read on to discover the many benefits of PRP therapy on an injury and what to expect during recovery.

When to Consider a Total Hip Replacement

Hip pain that continues no matter what is devastating and can make life difficult. If you're sick of dealing with chronic hip pain, it’s time to consider a total hip replacement. Read on to learn about hip replacement surgery and if it’s for you.

Signs It May Be Time for a Knee Replacement

Chronic knee pain threatens everyday activities, especially when you can't find relief. If other treatments aren’t working, it may be time for surgery. Read on to discover the signs that a knee replacement is in your future for knee pain relief.