Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Cubital tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes pain and numbness in the outside of the hand and wrist as a result of compression or inflammation of the ulnar nerve, which allows for sensation with the little finger and half of the ring finger.
Beginning in the side of the neck, the ulnar nerve travels all the way down the arm, including through the cubital tunnel, which is located just inside the elbow. When the elbow is bent, the cubital tunnel can stretch and may irritate the nerve over time. This condition may develop as a result of a frequent bending of the elbow from lifting or reaching, as well as from direct pressure on the elbow over time.
Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Patients with cubital tunnel syndrome may experience pain and numbness in the outside of the hand and wrist, especially after the elbow has been bent for a long period of time. Some patients may feel the sensation of an electric shock down the arm to the little finger. Your doctor can diagnose this condition through a physical exam and nerve conduction velocity test.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Treatment
Treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome usually begins with anti-inflammatory medication to minimize pain and other symptoms. Taking frequent breaks during physical labor can also help prevent symptoms from occurring, while wearing a splint or brace can control pain overnight.
If symptoms do not improve with conservative treatments, surgery may be needed to release pressure on the ulnar nerve as it passes through the cubital tunnel. This can be done through ulnar nerve transposition or medial epicondylectomy, both of which are outpatient procedures that are performed under general or regional anesthesia.