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Signs You May Have Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

man experiencing symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome

Most people have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome, and know that it causes numbness and tingling in the hands. Many, however, have never heard of cubital tunnel syndrome. Like carpal tunnel syndrome, this condition can cause pain, numbness, or a “pins-and-needles” sensation, although it affects a different part of the hand. And like carpal tunnel syndrome, it is caused by compression of a nerve—in this case, the ulnar nerve, which serves the third and fourth fingers and outer side of the hands.

Symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome may vary from person to person. Symptoms also depend on the severity of the condition and how advanced it is. In this blog, the cubital tunnel treatment specialists at Mirza Orthopedics in Smithtown, NY will address some of the telltale symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome and explain how you can find relief.

What is cubital tunnel syndrome?

Cubital tunnel syndrome, also called ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow, is a condition in which the ulnar nerve becomes irritated or “pinched.” The ulnar nerve runs from your neck into your hand and gives sensation to your pinky finger and the outer half of your ring finger. It’s one of the three main nerves in your arm, and it can be compressed anywhere along its length.

Although this can happen anywhere, such as at your wrist or even your collarbone, the most common site of compression is at the elbow. Here the nerve passes through a “tunnel” running behind the bone at the bend of your elbow. The nerve is quite close to the surface in this location and has very little soft tissue to protect it. As a result, the nerve is easily compressed or irritated.

What are the symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome?

While symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome may include pain in your elbow, symptoms most commonly affect your hand. There are a number of different symptoms that may indicate cubital tunnel syndrome, including:

  • Numbness or tingling that comes and goes in your ring and pinky fingers. This may be worse when your elbow is bent.
  • “Pins and needles” or “falling asleep” feeling in your last two fingers. Symptoms often get worse if your elbow is bent.
  • Loss of coordination in the affected fingers, in more severe cases
  • Weakness in the affected fingers
  • In the most severe cases, loss of muscle can occur. This may happen if the nerve has been compressed for a very long time or if the compression is extreme.

What are the risk factors for developing cubital tunnel syndrome?

Cubital tunnel syndrome is often the result of repetitive motion. If you have a job that requires you to bend your elbow frequently, or if you engage in other activities that do so, you may be at a higher risk. Other behaviors such as habitually sleeping with your elbow bent or frequently leaning on your elbow can cause symptoms.

You are also at higher risk for developing symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome if:

  • You have had a prior elbow fracture or dislocation
  • You have arthritis in your elbow
  • You have bone spurs in your elbow
  • You have a cyst in or near your elbow
  • You have swelling of your elbow

Where can I find treatment to relieve my symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome in Long Island?

Mirza Orthopedics is home to Long Island’s top specialists for the treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome, and our physicians will tailor a treatment plan to your unique needs. For some patients, this may entail conservative therapies like taking anti-inflammatory medications and wearing a brace. In other, more severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

If surgery is needed, Mirza Orthopedics is pleased to offer a minimally invasive solution that leads to long-term relief. The A.M. Endoscopic Cubital Tunnel Release System is a cutting-edge treatment that maximizes symptom relief while minimizing recovery time for patients. You can learn more about this advanced procedure by visiting our cubital tunnel syndrome page.

If you’re suffering from any of the telltale symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome, don’t muddle through with the discomfort. Contact Mirza Orthopedics today and find out what your treatment options are.

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