What Increases My Risks of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
Does your work entail long hours of repetitive movement of the elbow? Do you feel tingling and pain in your arm that radiates down to your fingers? If so, you may be suffering from a condition called ulnar nerve entrapment, or cubital tunnel syndrome.
At Mirza Orthopedics, we specialize in treating a variety of conditions of the elbow, hand and wrist, and will put you on the road to recovery with an optimal treatment plan that often does not require surgery.
What Is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
This condition, also called ulnar nerve entrapment, occurs when there is too much pressure on the ulnar nerve in the elbow. The ulnar nerve begins in the neck and runs down into the hand. This nerve serves to control muscle movement and hand feeling. The condition can arise when there is too much pressure on the nerve, it becomes stretched, or there is decreased blood flow. The result is numbness in the hand that adversely affects the ring and pinky fingers.
What Are the Major Risk Factors that Lead to Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
There are several risk factors to be aware of that could lead to compression of the ulnar nerve. The top factors include repetitive movement like regularly playing an instrument, painting or operating power tools. Baseball pitchers are at a higher risk of developing the condition due to their repetitive and twisting throwing motion. Excessive leaning on your elbow on a hard surface or sleeping on it in an awkward position can also cause the condition. Other risk factors include:
- A prior injury to the nerve or the elbow
- Health conditions like diabetes, arthritis or hypothyroidism
- A bone spur on the elbow
- Presence of a cyst or tumor on the elbow
What Are the Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
Early symptoms of the condition usually begin with pain in the elbow that radiates down into the forearm and hand. A tingling and numbness sensation in the ring finger and pinky usually follows. Other early symptoms include:
- Weakness of the hand and fingers
- Inability to straighten the fingers (usually the ring and pinky fingers)
More advanced symptoms of the condition include:
- Inability to touch the thumb and pinky finger together
- Loss of muscle mass in the hands
- Overall reduction of hand grip strength
- Deformity of the hand making it resemble a claw
What Are My Best Treatment Choices for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
Occasionally, this condition will resolve itself on its own. However, in most cases you will need to seek treatment to reduce the severity of your symptoms.
In milder cases, you may be directed to take non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and swelling. NSAIDs are available over-the-counter without a doctor’s prescription.
Other conservative treatments include a resting the elbow, wearing an elbow brace, and taking occasional rest periods during repetitive activities. A steroid injection can also reduce pain and swelling.
In more advanced cases when the ulnar nerve is severely compressed, surgery may be the best option. At Mirza Orthopedics, we use a minimally invasive procedure to release pressure on the ulnar nerve. The procedure uses a cutting-edge technique that Dr. Ather Mirza created to treat cubital tunnel syndrome. Using an endoscope, we insert a small, clear tube called a cannula, to protect the nerve while gaining a full view of the affected area. From there we can safely move the nerve to alleviate pressure or remove pieces of bone, cysts or spurs that are causing the nerve compression.
With endoscopic surgery, patients enjoy faster recovery time, less pain, less scarring, and a quicker return to daily activities.
Where Can I Find the Best Treatment for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome on Long Island?
Mirza Orthopedics is the premier private practice on Long Island committed to providing the best treatment for injuries and conditions affecting the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand. We specialize in using cutting-edge surgical options to correct conditions like cubital tunnel syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, and wrist fractures.
Our medical team provides the highest level of care in a warm, compassionate environment. If you believe you may be suffering from cubital tunnel syndrome, give us a call at (631) 361-5302 or request an appointment on our website today.