Ulnar Nerve Entrapment
(Cubital Tunnel Syndrome)

Ulnar Nerve Entrapment occurs when the ulnar nerve, which passes through a tunnel (cubital tunnel) behind the inside of the elbow, becomes compressed. The ulnar nerve can be felt through the skin at the point of the elbow commonly called the funny bone - and passes through another tunnel (Guyon canal) at the hand. 

The ulnar nerve provides sensation to the pinky and half of the ring finger, as well as controls most of the muscles in the hand that help with fine movements.

Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome:

  • Numbness and tingling in the ring and little finger are commonly associated with this condition (may become worse when the elbow is bent - such as when driving or talking on the phone).
  • Weakness in grip strength and difficulty with finger coordination (such as typing or playing an instrument).

Causes of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome:

Cubital tunnel syndrome results when the elbow is repetitively bent, placing continuous stress on the ulnar nerve. It may also result from regular pressure on the bony part of the elbow, such as leaning the elbow on a hard surface.

Diagnosis:

Cubital tunnel syndrome results when the elbow is repetitively bent, placing continuous stress on the ulnar nerve. It may also result from regular pressure on the bony part of the elbow, such as leaning the elbow on a hard surface.

Treatment Options:

    Unless symptoms are severe or there is muscle weakness, nonsurgical treatment Is recommended and may include:

  • Minimize use of the arm with the elbow in a bent position.
  • Refrain from leaning on the elbow or putting pressure on the inside of the arm.
  • Maintaining the elbow in a straight position while sleeping.

If conservative treatment fails to provide relief, or if there is muscle weakness, surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve may be recommended. Dr. Rosen performs a new procedure which decompresses the nerve endoscopically, the Endoscopic Cubital Tunnel Release. He was among the first hand specialists in Houston to perform the procedure.

 

© Copyright 2015 Dr. Allan Rosen MD