Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Treatment for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome in Cincinnati
Cubital tunnel syndrome is a result of a nerve in the arm that becomes irritated or compressed, and this condition can lead to numbness, a weakened grip, and other symptoms. Fortunately, the hand and wrist specialists at Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine provide effective treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome. If surgery is required, Beacon has two ambulatory surgery centers and a new Clifton Hand Surgery Center in partnership with TriHealth.
What is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
Cubital tunnel syndrome, otherwise known as ulnar nerve entrapment, is caused by compression or irritation of the ulnar nerve. The ulnar nerve starts in the armpit at the brachial plexus and travels through the cubital tunnel in the elbow through the forearm, where it branches off to enter the pinky finger. This nerve controls most of the small muscles in the hand. When it becomes compressed, it can lead to a range of symptoms.1
Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Ulnar nerve entrapment or cubital tunnel syndrome may cause symptoms such as:
- Numbness and/or tingling in the hand or fourth and fifth fingers (ring and pinky fingers)
- Numbness and tingling may be more prominent at night or when the elbow is bent
- Pain in the hand
- Weak grip
- Aching pain2
Causes of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Potential causes of cubital tunnel syndrome include:
- Keeping the elbow bent for long periods of time
- Ulnar nerve sliding out of place
- Leaning on the elbow for long periods of time
- Fluid accumulation that puts pressure on the nerve
- A blow to the inside of the elbow (hitting your “funny bone”)
- Patients who have fractured or dislocated their elbow, patients with bone spurs, and people who have cysts near the elbow are at a higher risk for developing cubital tunnel syndrome.
Treatment for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Non-Surgical Treatment for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
At Beacon Orthopaedics, we always recommend the least-invasive treatment that will effectively alleviate a patient’s symptoms. In the case of cubital tunnel syndrome, non-surgical treatment is often adequate and may include:
- Behavioral modifications (bending the elbow or leaning on the elbow less)
- Keeping the elbow straight while sleeping
- Physical therapy
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Bracing or splinting
Surgery for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
In some cases, surgery is necessary to alleviate symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome. During cubital tunnel syndrome surgery, the surgeon releases the entrapped ulnar nerve by cutting the top of the cubital tunnel to decrease pressure. Beacon has two ambulatory surgery centers and a Clifton Hand Surgery Center for a patient’s convenience.
Contact Beacon Orthopaedics
If you are suffering discomfort and impeded function due to cubital tunnel syndrome, the specialists at Beacon Orthopaedics can help. Contact us to schedule a consultation with a hand and wrist expert.
1 Cleveland Clinic. Ulnar Nerve. Available: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/21664-ulnar-nerve. Accessed January 13, 2022.
2 Cedars Sinai. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. Available: https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/c/cubital-tunnel-syndrome.html. Accessed January 13, 2022.
3 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Ulnar Nerve Entrapment. Available: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/ulnar-nerve-entrapment-at-the-elbow-cubital-tunnel-syndrome/. Accessed January 13, 2022.