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Acute cubital tunnel syndrome

Introduction

Nerve compression problems are pretty much common medical conditions. They are usually associated with painful sensations and also dysfunctions in the upper extremities. This usually happens most frequently in the occupational environments. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition which is usually much more known among people, but cubital tunnel syndrome is the most common nerve compression pathology. It is also very high on the list of most common peripheral compression neuropathies. This medical condition can be described as the compression of the ulnar nerve between the two heads of the flexor carpi ulnaris which is located on the outer side of the elbow, commonly referred to as the cubital tunnel.

Characteristics

As mentioned earlier, the so called cubital tunnel is on the outer side of the elbow and it is surrounded from both sides by the heads of the flexor carpi ulnaris, which is a muscle located there. One head is attached to the medial epicondyle of the humerus, while the other one comes from the medial aspect of the so called olecranon process. When the two heads join together, they form the belly of the flexor carpi ulnaris. As explained earlier, the ulnar nerve passes between the two heads of the muscle, and when the elbow flexes, the space within the cubital tunnel gets decreased by 55%, which greatly increases the chance of nerve compression. If a person suffers from the symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome, the condition usually gets aggravated during the flexions of the elbow and the ulnar nerve. Shifting the positions of the ulnar nerve may also be held responsible for the presence of additional symptoms in the affected region. Cubital tunnel syndrome may be triggered by different factors but the most usual ones include chronic or acute compression of the elbow. Other common causes of cubital tunnel syndrome may or may not include mechanical compression of the nerve, or the compression of fibrous bands within the muscle, synovial ganglions, bone spurs or excessive cubital valgus. In spite of all that, the most frequent trigger of the cubital tunnel syndrome is the medical condition known as hypertonicity. Thoracic outlet syndrome may also increase the sensitivity of the nerve to compression. The most common symptoms of the cubital tunnel syndrome include tingling sensations, burning sensations, painful sensations, atrophy and weakness. The cubital tunnel syndrome affects men much more than women. The best treatment method known to man is massage.

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