A Patient’s Guide to Treatment for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

A condition, known as Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, is where your funny bone (ulnar nerve) is stretched,  has pressure on it, or is compressed. This condition can cause tingling in your small or ring fingers, numbness, weakness in your hand or pain in your forearm. Your ulnar nerve is located in the inner side of your elbow and runs along the groove.

There are a variety of causes of  this peripheral nerve entrapment syndrome. A common cause of this condition is when you bend your elbow frequently when performing activities like reaching, lifting or pulling on things. You can end up with this condition when you continually add constant direct pressure on your elbow. You are irritating the nerve when you lean on your elbow while sitting at your desk, or if you use it constantly to run machinery or to use the elbow rest while you drive. A blow to your cubital tunnel can also lead to ulnar nerve damage.

In any event, it’s important you see your Florida hand doctor if you notice any weakness, tingling or ‘pins and needles’ sensations, loss of sensation or pain as these could indicate you have this syndrome.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Treatments

The first treatment your hand specialist might try if you have a mild case is having you avoid putting pressure on the nerve or modify your activity. He will likely suggest that you keep your elbow out of a bent or excessively flexed position. If the condition doesn’t improve after doing this, your hand surgeon may suggest surgery. This is the case also if you have severe nerve damage.

Hand surgery might include endoscopic ulnar nerve decompression which is typically recommended. Your Florida hand surgeon identifies and frees your ulnar nerve from adhesions in this surgery by making a small incision. He uses an endoscope to guide him through the procedure. He doesn’t cut any tendons or muscles or move any nerves. The surgery is performed under a regional anesthesia during an outpatient procedure.

You will need time to recover before you will get maximum feeling and strength back, but the severity of your condition will determine the duration of recovery.

Your recovery following surgery will depend on which procedure the hand doctor uses. In many cases, you would only require having your elbow wrapped with a soft bandage and some therapy. During therapy you will begin with range-of-motion exercises and then move on to more intense strengthening and stretching.

To learn more about the treatments for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, give us a call at the Florida Hand Center at 941-625-3782. We have locations in Fort Myers and Port Charlotte.