Cubital tunnel syndrome is a compressive neuropathy that occurs at the elbow. The ulnar nerve is irritated, often creating numbness and tingling in the small and ring fingers. Muscle weakness of the hand may occur in severe cases. Occasionally, cubital tunnel may be associated with instability of the nerve. In this circumstance, the ulnar nerve may rub over the inner prominence (medial epicondyle) of the elbow during movement from a straight to bent position or vice versa.
Non-surgical treatment options include activity modification and splinting. Avoiding flexed positioning of the elbow helps prevent placing pressure on the ulnar nerve and may improve symptoms. Wearing a cubital tunnel brace at night or placing a pillow around the elbow may also help avoid flexed posture of the elbow and improve symptoms associated with ulnar nerve irritation. Activity modification should also include avoidance of pressure to the medial elbow, such as when leaning on an armrest. Wearing an elbow pad during the day to cushion the medial elbow may potentially assist with symptoms.
Surgical treatment options include cubital tunnel release with or without transposition of the ulnar nerve. As with carpal tunnel release, variation in anatomy may be encountered, such as the presence of an accessory muscle. Release of compressive structures and ligaments overlying the ulnar nerve may improve symptoms. Outcomes after surgery vary and risks and benefits should
be discussed in detail with your treating physician. Non-operative treatment also carries risks and benefits which should be discussed with your treating physician.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to covey, substitute or supplant any medical advice. In order to establish a treating relationship, please schedule and complete your visits with a licensed physician.
Copyright 12/9/2021 Tanay Amin, MD
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