What Happens If Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Goes Untreated?

cubital tunnel is left untreated

The muscles and nerves of the hands and elbows are responsible for some of the most common movements and injuries on the planet. One of these injuries, cubital tunnel syndrome, refers to the entrapment of the ulnar nerve at the elbow or the wrist. Although it is most commonly found occurring within the elbow, it may occur at any point along the nerve between the elbow and the wrist. Unfortunately, the frequency of this condition means some people opt to forgo treatment. However, leaving it untreated can have profound consequences.

Weakness in the Fingers and Thumb

The biggest consequences of cubital tunnel syndrome are discomfort and weakness in the forearm and hands. However, the weakness and discomfort will progress into pain and impact your quality of life. Simply sleeping will become difficult as the numbness and tingling can arise a person from a restful sleep.

Heightened Risk of Future Injury

Failure to treat the condition properly could also lead to a higher risk of subsequent injury. Since the nerve causes the condition, the ill-timed onset of numbness and tingling could occur at any time when the nerve is under pressure. This may include while driving, sleeping, or working. With time, the numbness becomes more severe, and it may be impractical to safely stop a vehicle or step away from work without risking injury.

Loss of Fine Motor Control

Continued worsening of the condition could also lead to the loss of fine motor control. People with the untreated syndrome may experience trouble maintaining a grip on objects, which has additional implications for activities of daily living. For example, brushing one’s teeth, writing, and using smart devices could all be affected by the failure to get proper treatment for the condition and its symptoms, including hand pain, notes the American Society for Surgery of the Hand

Muscle Wasting

The final consequence is the most severe. If left untreated, ulnar nerve entrapment will lead to muscle wasting along the forearm and in the hands. This is part of what contributes to the loss of fine motor control. However, it could lead to permanent contraction of the joints in the forearm, elbow, wrists, or hands, which may inhibit circulation.

Get the Right Treatment for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Now

Cubital tunnel syndrome is rarely a life-threatening or serious condition, but failure to treat it in a timely manner can lead to serious outcomes and inadequate quality of life. However, effective treatments, including non-surgical and surgical options, can help. The first step is to see a hand specialist at the Florida Hand Center. This is the best way to determine the proper hand treatment for your unique joints. Schedule your appointment by calling 1-941-257-3470 or completing the online contact form today.