Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome: Symptoms and Treatment

Cubital tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the ulnar nerve near the elbow because of increased pressure. One may develop this condition if they:
  • Repeatedly lean on their elbow, especially on a hard surface
  • Frequent bending of the elbow
  • Abnormal bone growth in the elbow due to intense physical activity
Symptoms include pain and numbness in the elbow, or on the inside of the hand and in the ring and little fingers. More severe symptoms include decreased ability to pinch the little finger and the thumb, decreased overall hand grip, and muscle wasting in the hand.

The early symptoms will usually lessen if whatever is causing it is stopped. Limiting the duration of tasks that require the bending of elbows would also help a lot. If the symptoms still won’t go away, then a doctor may recommend surgery. The objective of the surgery is to release the pressure being made on the ulnar nerve. There are two kinds of surgery for cubital tunnel syndrome:
  • Ulnar nerve transposition – a new tunnel is formed from the forearm’s flexor muscles where the ulnar nerve is then transposed.
  • Medial epicondylectomy – this seeks to remove the medial epicondyle on the inside edge of the elbow, which would allow the ulnar nerve to slide through the cubital tunnel but without the pressure.
Both procedures are effective in their own right, and the surgeon would be the one to determine which procedure would be best for your situation.

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