How Do You Know if You Have Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

We're happy to share insights from our doctors.

Cubital tunnel syndrome develops when there is compression on the ulnar nerve. This nerve extends from the neck all the way to the fingers, passing through the cubital tunnel on the inner part of the elbow. When the ulnar nerve becomes compressed or otherwise agitated, swelling and inflammation can produce bothersome and even painful symptoms.

The precise cause of cubital tunnel syndrome changes greatly from patient to patient. In some cases, overuse of the elbow joint can compress the ulnar nerve. In other cases, resting or leaning the elbows on a hard surface can contribute to cubital tunnel syndrome. Additionally, arthritis and other trauma can lead to the development of cubital tunnel syndrome.

Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

When a person develops cubital tunnel syndrome, it can produce numerous symptoms, including but not necessarily limited to:

  • Numbness — Cubital tunnel syndrome can produce numbness and tingling in the hands, wrists, or elbows.
  • Weakness — Cubital tunnel syndrome can decrease muscle function and strength, making it difficult to lift or grasp objects.
  • Aching Pain — Cubital tunnel syndrome can cause dull, aching pain, particularly on the inside of the elbow joint.
  • Shooting Pain — Cubital tunnel syndrome can also produce sharp, shooting pain in the hands, wrists, or elbows.

Diagnosis of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

In order to diagnose cubital tunnel syndrome, a medical professional generally starts with a physical examination to assess the patient’s symptoms. At that point, the medical professional will likely also need to conduct:

  • Electromyogram Exam — This test examines muscle and nerve functions, which can help identify the source of cubital tunnel syndrome.
  • Nerve Conduction Test — This test measures how fast information travels through a nerve, which can pinpoint compression in the ulnar nerve.
  • X-Ray Exam — This can identify bone fractures and spurs that could be contributing to cubital tunnel syndrome.

Treatment for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

After a medical professional diagnoses cubital tunnel syndrome, there are various potential treatment options. Depending on the nature of the patient’s condition, a medical professional might recommend:

  • Joint Immobilization — Applying a splint or cast to immobilize the elbow can decrease symptoms in minor cases of cubital tunnel syndrome.
  • Occupational Therapy — Working with an occupational therapist to adjust posture and other habits can reduce the symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome.
  • Surgical Intervention — In the worst cases, surgery might be required to relieve pressure on the ulnar nerve and alleviate cubital tunnel syndrome.

Do You Need Medical Assistance with Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

If you are suffering from cubital tunnel syndrome, it can be tremendously valuable to contact a dependable hand surgeon. At Midwest Hand Surgery, our doctors have training at the fellowship level, which extends beyond mere board certification. With this type of expertise, our doctors can provide high-level treatment for a variety of hand and elbow conditions, including cubital tunnel syndrome.

Furthermore, Midwest Hand Surgery, believes in a hands-on approach to medicine. Our doctors always take the time to see and treat their patients, without depending on physician assistants. We also offer same-day treatment availability, occupational therapy, and on-site surgical suites. If you need medical assistance with cubital tunnel syndrome, contact us today to see a qualified professional.

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