Cubital tunnel syndrome is a nerve disorder that leads to continual pressure or stretching of the ulnar nerve. The ulnar nerve supplies feeling to the little finger and ring finger and controls small muscles of the heart. The ulnar nerve runs through a passage called the cubital tunnel, which is made up of bone, ligament, and muscle. Any type of strain created on the ulnar nerve results in numbness in the ring and small fingers, weakness in the hand, or pain in the forearm, causing cubital tunnel syndrome. The ulnar nerve is also known as a funny bone nerve.
Cubital tunnel syndrome causes
Most common causes of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome are:
- Frequent bending of elbow, leaning on your elbow along a hard surface increases the pressure on the ulnar nerve.
- Repeated physical activities such as, pulling levers, lifting heavy weights, or use of elbow to support your head creates strain on the ulnar nerve.
- Sometimes ulnar nerve is damaged due to injuries and accidents.
- Abnormal growth of elbow bone can also lead to cubital tunnel syndrome.
The symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome depend upon the severity of the condition. If you experience any of the following symptoms, consult your neurologist.
Diagnosis of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
- Pain and numbness in the elbow
- Persistent pain in ring and small finger
- Loss of sensation in the hand
- Restricted movements of the hand joints
- Inability to pinch the thumb or little finger
- Tingling in hand muscles
After examining a patient’s complete medical history and conducting physical exam, the doctor will order diagnostic tests which will help him to know the type of joint that has been affected. Diagnostic tests
for cubital tunnel syndrome may include:
- Nerve conduction velocity test (NCV)- The nerve conduction test measures the speed of the reflexes along the nerve. The speed of reflexes decreases if the nerve is contracted or compressed.
- Electromyogram test (EMG)- Electromyogram procedure measures the health of nerve and muscles in the hand. Electrodes are placed in the muscles to detect the area of the nerve damage.
Medial epicondylectomy- In this surgical procedure inside edge of the elbow is removed so that ulnar nerve can run through the cubital tunnel without any difficulty.
Ulnar nerve transposition- In this procedure a new passage is created for the ulnar nerve. A surgeon uses the flexor muscle of the forearm to create a new tunnel.
- Avoid putting pressure on your elbow
- Take anti-inflammatory medicines
- Avoid unnecessary movement of elbow
- Exercise daily to stretch your elbow
- Use cold or heat therapy to reduce pain