Cubital Tunnel Syndrome (Ulnar Nerve Entrapment)

The ulnar nerve starts in the side of your neck and ends in your fingers. It transmits sensation and motor function to your lower arm and hand. This nerve passes through the cubital tunnel, a tunnel of muscle, ligament, and bone located on the inside of the elbow. If this nerve is compressed as it passes through the elbow or wrist, the result is pain, numbness, muscle weakness, or tingling in your hands and arms.

Cubital tunnel syndrome, like carpal tunnel syndrome, is a nerve compression condition. The pain caused by this syndrome feels like the pain you feel when you hit the “funny bone” in your elbow. That “funny bone” is actually the ulnar nerve where it crosses the elbow.

If left untreated, this condition can escalate to permanent injury to the arm or hand.

Treatment

The most effective treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome is ceasing any activity, such as bending, that has caused or aggravates the condition.

Depending on the severity of your ulnar nerve issues, your doctor may recommend physical therapy, which can strengthen the ligaments and tendons in your elbow and hand. Oral anti-inflammatory medications may ease pain and inflammation.

Wearing a splint or foam elbow at night may help limit movement and reduce irritation. During the day, an elbow pad may help protect against chronic irritation from hard surfaces.

Video Overview: Cubital Tunnel Syndrome (Ulnar Nerve Entrapment)

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