Elbows General

Addressing Cubital Tunnel Syndrome for a Better Quality of Life

Cubital tunnel syndrome, or ulnar nerve entrapment, is a condition affecting the ulnar nerve. This is the nerve that extends from the forearm to the neck. Along the way, it passes through the cubital tunnel, which is near the inner part of the elbow. Muscles, bone and ligaments all form the tunnel. In cubital tunnel syndrome, the ulnar nerve gets compressed in the tunnel.

What are the Symptoms?

The most common symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome are numbness and tingling in the hand and fingers. Such symptoms are most common in the ring and little fingers, and they tend to be intermittent. These symptoms are most likely to occur if the patient keeps their elbow bent during activities like driving or talking on the phone.

In some cases, the numbness wakes patients in the middle of the night. The patient may also feel as if their fingers are “falling asleep.” In severe cases, cubital tunnel syndrome can also impair coordination and weaken the muscles. The patient will start to have trouble performing such activities as typing or playing an instrument.

If the patient does not get treatment and/or the condition persists a long time, they may experience actual wasting of the hand muscles. Since this is not reversible, the patient should see our team if they have symptoms and/or have had symptoms for over six weeks.

How is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Treated?

A person usually starts with various home remedies, many of which involve resting the affected arm. For example, they may avoid activities that require bending their elbows for a long time. Before going to bed, they may wrap a towel around their arm to make sure it stays straight while they sleep.

When such measures don’t work, our team at Arora Hand Surgery can come up with a customized treatment plan for you. This may involve the use of a splint, hand therapy and/or surgery, depending on the situation. Surgery is usually only recommended for severe cases of cubital tunnel syndrome. The patient will almost always need some type of physical therapy during their recovery.

During a consultation at Arora Hand Surgery, Dr. Arora and his team can assess your condition and come up with a personalized treatment that aims to give you a better quality of life.  Contact our West Bloomfield, Howell, Warren, or Macomb office today to schedule an appointment to learn more about your treatment options!