Cubital tunnel syndrome is a common, painful condition affecting the elbow. Although this condition is uncomfortable, it can be alleviated with the right treatment. Below is some basic information about cubital tunnel syndrome and the treatment options available to patients with this condition.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Basics
Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when the ulnar nerve of the elbow becomes compressed because of decreased flexibility or pressure in the surrounding tissues. This leads to a numbness and tingling in the outermost fingers of the hand. Patients with more advanced disease may also experience clawing of the fingers, clumsiness and muscle loss. Doctors are not sure why this condition develops in some people and not others. However, anyone can be diagnosed with cubital tunnel syndrome.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of this condition, your doctor will ask you questions about your medical history, and he or she will examine the elbow in the office. He or she may also test the function of the ulnar nerve with NCV or EMG testing.
If you have been diagnosed with cubital tunnel syndrome, you may benefit from:
- Activity modification. – For many patients, the first line of treatment for this condition is activity modification. You will be asked to prevent pressure on the ulnar nerve and to keep your elbow out of a bent position as much as possible. If this type of treatment isn’t successful, surgery may be recommended.
- Endoscopic ulnar nerve decompression. – During this surgical procedure, the surgeon frees the ulnar nerve from adhesions using an endoscope. Only one small incision is required, and the patient’s nerves, muscles and tendons are all left intact. In most cases, this procedure can be performed under regional anesthesia.
- Submuscular ulnar nerve transposition. – This more invasive surgical procedure is only utilized in cases where endoscopic ulnar nerve decompression is not possible.
Selecting the Right Treatment Option
If you think that you may be suffering from cubital tunnel syndrome, the first step is to make an appointment with a surgeon. The surgeon will be able to examine your elbow and confirm the diagnosis. He or she will also be able to recommend the best treatment method for your condition. To get started, please call Florida Hand Center today.