Treated by a hand specialist, Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a medical condition that involves compression of a nerve. If you have this condition, you may have tingling or numbness in the ring and small finger, often referred to as “pins and needles”. You might also experience hand weakness and pain in your forearm.
To determine if you have Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, a hand specialist performs a physical examination, and may try to see if you can mimic the symptoms. In addition, an EMG or NCV examination may be conducted to test the function of the nerve.
Causes of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
There are three common causes of the condition: direct pressure, prolonged stretching, and simply your anatomy.
Direct pressure. Leaning on your arm or leaning on an arm rest, especially if done for long periods of time can press upon the ulnar nerve, which is also referred to as the funny bone arm. This can cause the hand and arm to fall asleep, resulting in tingling and numbness. If you’ve ever hit your elbow where the corner of the ulnar nerve is, you might have felt a tingling, shocking sensation.
Your anatomy. For some individuals, the ulnar nerve doesn’t stay put. It moves back and forth when the elbow is moves. If this occurs repeatedly, it can irritate the nerve and keep it from working correctly as the soft tissues that cover the nerve become thicker.
Prolonged stretching. If your job or hobby requires you to keep your elbow bent for extended periods of time,it can stretch the funny bone nerve. For example, if you need to hold the phone to your ear for prolonged periods of time during work, you have an increased risk of developing this condition.This can also happen when you sleep. Over time, you might need the expertise of a hand doctor to relieve your symptoms.
Treating Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
A hand surgeon or hand specialist can help you find ways to reduce or eliminate pressure on the ulnar nerve. Wearing a splint or wrapping a towel around your elbow may help. Sometimes, hand surgery is needed to release pressure on the nerve. An ulnar nerve transposition is a common hand surgery for this condition.
Depending on the severity of the condition and type of therapy employed, your tingling and numbness may be improve gradually or immediately.