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Cubital tunnel syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome (also known as ulnar neuropathy) is a nerve compression syndrome which affects the ulnar nerve that runs along the inside of the elbow. The ulnar nerve passes close to the skin's surface in the area of the elbow commonly called the "funny bone." Its symptoms - numbness, weakness, tingling, and pain - are similar to carpal tunnel syndrome. Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when the elbow is held in a bent position for an extended period, such as during sleep or while holding a phone.

Diagnosing Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Physical Exam

Your physician will ask you a series of questions and is likely to do a physical exam. The physical exam will including examining any specific areas of concern, especially as they relate to the reason for your visit to the office.

Electromyography (EMG)

A single-fiber electromyography measures the electrical energy traveling between the brain and muscles.

X-Rays

A form of electromagnetic radiation with very high frequency and energy. X-rays are used to examine and make images of things such as the bones and organs inside the body.

Treatments for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Bracing/Splinting

A splint, also known as a brace, is a rigid device that holds a body part in place so that it is unable to move. It is usually used as a treatment for a suspected fracture, sprain/ligament damage, or other injury. It can be applied by first responders in the event of trauma. Splints can reduce pain, aid in proper healing, and can also prevent further injury. They can be worn for several days or weeks to hold the body part in place for the duration of healing time.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

A class of medications, including but not limited to aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen, that are used for reducing pain and redness, swelling, and heat (inflammation) in arthritis and other painful inflammatory disorders.

Activity Modification

Physicians may prescribe general lifestyle changes to a patient, in order to help relieve the symptoms of their condition and improve their overall physical function and well-being. Depending on the medical condition being treated, activity modification may include: decreasing or increasing one's level of physical activity; added rest; beginning a new activity or exercise program; changing sleep habits; or modifying one's physical environment at home, in their vehicle, or at work.

Nerve Gliding Exercises

A series of exercises that encourage the nerves to glide normally as the joints are moved. They relieve pressure on the nerves of the arm and help prevent stiffness in the arm and wrist. These are often used post-surgery or as part of a rehabilitation program after an injury. Common areas for exercising include the hands, forearms, and neck.

Cubital Tunnel Release Surgery

An operation that is performed to increase the size of the cubital tunnel and as a result, decrease pressure on the nerve. In some cases the nerve can be simply decompressed; in other cases the ulnar nerve must be moved to a different position about the elbow. This procedure tends to work best when the nerve compression is mild or moderate.

Ulnar Nerve Anterior Transposition

An operation to treat patients with cubital tunnel syndrome, a condition affecting the inside of the elbow. During the procedure, the ulnar nerve is moved to a new place that keeps it from stretching when the elbow is bent. The nerve may be moved to lie under the skin and fat but on top of the muscle, or within the muscle, or under the muscle.

Medial Epicondylectomy

A surgery performed to release the cubital nerve, which runs along the inside of the elbow. During the procedure, a part of the medial epicondyle (found in the arm) is removed. This prevents the nerve from getting caught on the boney ridge and stretching when the elbow is bent.

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