Cubital tunnel syndrome is a condition that gets triggeredby excessive amounts of the pressure on the ulnar nerve at the elbow. The ulnarnerve is located underneath the bump on the bone that is on the inner portionof the elbow. The nerve is pressed against the bone and is very susceptible toexcessive pressure which leads to disturbance of the nerve functions, tingling,pain and numbness which occur in the elbow, hand, forearm and the fingers.
The ulnar nerve is located right next to the bone and it isvery easily exposed to excessive pressure. If one leans against the table onthe inner part of the elbow, the arm may fall asleep and the sustained pressureon the ulnar nerve may also cause pain. Repetitive exposure to excess pressuremay lead to persistent pain and numbness. Some people may experience repetitiveclicking of the ulnar nerve back and forth over the bone bump during thebending and straightening which may cause significant irritation. Holding theelbow in the bent position for prolonged periods of time may stretch the nerveacross the medial epicondyle. Cubital tunnel syndrome is triggered bysignificant pressure that is sustained long enough to cause the disturbance ofthe functioning of the ulnar nerve.
Signs and Symptoms
Cubital tunnel syndrome is usually characterized bynumbness, pain and tingling in the ring finger and the little fingers. Most symptomsoccur when the nerve is exposed to excessive pressure which is caused bysitting with the elbow positioned on the arm rest or when the elbow gets bentand straightened repetitively. Symptoms can also be experienced when the elbowgets held in a bent position for prolonged periods of time. Other symptoms mayinclude clumsiness and pinching, while some severe cases have included loststrength and bulk in the muscles.
A physician must examine the distribution of the symptomsand the muscle weakness, nerve irritability and check if there are any changesin the sensations. The physician may also need to evaluate certain othermedical conditions and check for diabetes and thyroid diseases. Anelectromyography and nerve conduction study may also need to be done in orderto determine the proper diagnosis.
Minimal nerve pressure may not require surgery and it can beresolved by changing the elbow patterns and avoiding putting it on hardsurfaces. Sometimes a person may need surgery in order to relieve thepressure.