Treatment for a Compression Neuropathy in the Arm (Cubital/Carpal Tunnel Syndrome)
Your nerves give feeling to your body, among other jobs. They allow you to feel heat and cold, touch and pressure. Sensory nerves are what signal your brain—through the sensation of pain—that you have an injury. Pressure on peripheral nerves can cause pain, numbness or even weakness in the area that the compressed nerves supply, a problem that is called compression neuropathy.
Pressure on the median nerve at the wrist—what we call “carpal tunnel syndrome”—is the most common type of compression neuropathy of the upper extremity (the arm, hand, and wrist.) Compression of the ulnar nerve in the cubital tunnel, known as cubital tunnel syndrome, is more common among the compression of the ulnar, radial, posterior interosseous and anterior interosseous nerves.
What is cubital tunnel syndrome?
Explain that cubital tunnel syndrome, also known as ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow, is a type of compression neuropathy affecting one of the nerves, known as the ulnar nerve, which provides feeling and function to the hand. The ulnar nerve runs from the neck to the hand, and serves the outer half of the hand including the ring and pinky fingers.
In cubital tunnel syndrome, the ulnar nerve becomes compressed or inflamed where it passes through the cubital tunnel, a narrow space located just inside the elbow. This causes symptoms such as numbness and tingling in the pinky and ring fingers, the hallmarks of cubital tunnel syndrome.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is another common compression neuropathy affecting the other primary nerve in the arm, the median nerve. The median nerve also supplies feeling and function, this time to the thumb, first two fingers, and one half of the ring finger. The median nerve also runs from the neck to the hand, passing through a narrow bony opening in the palm side of the wrist called the carpal tunnel.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is compressed or becomes irritated where it passes through the carpal tunnel. The compressed nerve causes numbness, tingling, and pain in the hand, particularly in the fingers supplied by the median nerve. It can also result in wrist pain or pain radiating to the forearm.
What are the treatment options for compression neuropathy?
The treatment of a compression neuropathy is decompression of the affected nerve. Many times, these types of compression neuropathy are the result of overuse, and a conservative, non-operative approach with a focus on modification of activity is sufficient to decompress the nerve and relieve symptoms. Splinting of the wrist or elbow are commonly used to minimize pressure on the affected nerve. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary in order to alleviate the symptoms of nerve compression.
Where can I find treatment for my compression neuropathy in Long Island?
Mirza Orthopedics is the premier orthopedic hand, wrist, elbow & shoulder center on Long Island, serving active patients of all ages from Suffolk County, Nassau County and beyond. Our Smithtown-based practice offers the latest nonsurgical and surgical treatment options for all types of hand and upper extremity injuries and conditions. We specialize in cutting-edge, minimally invasive procedures utilizing proprietary medical devices designed by our physicians for carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome and distal radius fractures. If you’re suffering from any of these conditions, contact Mirza Orthopedics today for a consultation.