When Is It Time to Seek Treatment For Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Have you noticed a persistent numbness and tingling in your fingers and hand? Is it difficult to grab and hold onto objects? Your symptoms may be caused by a condition called ulnar nerve entrapment, or cubital tunnel syndrome.
If you’ve received this diagnosis and are looking for a second opinion or alternative therapies to surgery, the physicians of Mirza Orthopedics can help.
What Is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
The ulnar nerve is one of the primary nerves in the arm that travels down from the neck into the hand. If you’ve ever hit your “funny bone,” you’ve felt the shock-like sensation of aggravating this nerve. There are several places the ulnar nerve can become constricted along the path, including the collarbone, elbow or wrist.
The most prevalent place for constriction of the nerve is behind the inner elbow, which results in cubital tunnel syndrome. Mild cases can be treated with simple methods like bracing or limiting activities. More serious cases that cause muscle damage to the hand may require surgery.
What Causes Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
Many factors can contribute to developing cubital tunnel syndrome. These include:
- Regularly leaning against your elbow on a hard surface.
- Bending your elbow for long periods of time when sleeping with your arm bent under a pillow or holding a phone up to your ear.
- Prior dislocations or breaks of the elbow.
- Bone spurs, cysts, or arthritis in the elbow.
Sometimes intense physical activity can cause the condition by promoting abnormal bone growth in the elbow that results in increased pressure on the ulnar nerve. Baseball pitchers are especially at risk for this painful condition because repetitive, twisting throwing motions can damage the elbow ligaments.
What Are the Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
Early symptoms of the condition include:
- Numbness and pain in the elbow
- Tingling feeling in the fingers, especially the ring and pinky fingers
More severe symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome are:
- Weakness in the ring and pinky finger
- Lessened ability to pinch the thumb and little finger together
- Deterioration of hand muscles
- General reduction in hand grip strength
- Hand deformities resembling a claw
What Are the Treatment Options for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
For many patients, conservative treatment options are successful for treating this condition of the ulnar nerve. These treatments include resting the elbow, taking anti-inflammatory medications, wearing an elbow brace, and taking frequent rest breaks during physical labor.
In more serious cases when the ulnar nerve is considerably compressed, or when muscle weakness and damage are present, surgery may be necessary. At Mirza Orthopedics, our physicians use a minimally invasive surgical option to decompress the ulnar nerve. Dr. Ather Mirza, who has spent a large part of his career developing new, cutting-edge techniques, has developed the only option for surgeons to use endoscopy to release compression on the ulnar nerve. The procedure uses a clear cannula (a small tube) to protect the ulnar nerve while allowing for complete visualization of the nerve during the procedure.
Advantages of this endoscopic procedure include reduced pain, earlier return to daily activities, smaller incision and scarring, and quicker return of range of motion.
Where Can I Find the Best Treatment for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome on Long Island?
Mirza Orthopedics specializes in treating all kinds of conditions affecting the shoulder, hand and wrist. As the leading orthopedic practice on Long Island, the physicians of Mirza Orthopedics are committed to providing you with the most personalized, expert care while utilizing the least-invasive treatment options available. Our practice excels at offering cutting-edge surgical procedures for distal radius fractures and carpal tunnel syndrome in addition to compression of the ulnar nerve that will get you back to your normal daily activities much faster than with traditional surgical procedures.
If you believe you might be suffering from cubital tunnel syndrome or would like a second opinion on your diagnosis, book a consultation with one of our doctors who will conduct a thorough examination and explain the various treatment options available.
Call Mirza Orthopedics at (631) 361-5302 or go online to request an appointment today.