Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
It is a condition that is brought on by increased pressure on the ulnar nerve at the elbow.
The ulnar nerve passes directly below the "funny bone" where it is susceptible to pressure. When the pressure on the nerve becomes great enough to disturb the way the nerve works, then tingling, pain and numbness maybe felt in the elbow, forearm, hand and fingers.
Pressure on the ulnar nerve can occur from holding the elbow in a bent position for a long time, which stretches the nerve. Such sustained bending of the elbow can occur during sleep. Sometimes the connective tissue over the nerve becomes thickened and can cause pressure on the nerve.
Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when the pressure on the nerve is significant enough, and sustained for a sufficient period to disturb the way the ulnar nerve works.
Signs and symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
- The symptoms are usually felt when there is pressure on the nerve, such as sitting with the elbow on an arm rest, or with repetitive elbow bending and straightening.
- Pain and numbness in the elbow.
- Tingling, especially in the ring and little fingers.
- Weakness or soreness in the hand.
- Difficulty gripping and holding on to objects.
The ulnar nerve extends from the neck down the back of the arm to the hand. In the inner aspect of the elbow, it runs along a small passageway called the cubital tunnel.
Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs at the elbow and is also known as ulnar neuropathy.
Preparing For Your Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Surgery
Cubital Tunnel release surgery is a major operation that requires some preparation by the patient. Although severe complications are unlikely, it's important to follow a few key guidelines to ensure your Cubital Tunnel Release Surgery goes well. And we may also refer to the best doctor for your surgery.
How is Cubital Tunnel syndrome treated?
Cubital tunnel syndrome can be managed conservatively, if there is minimal pressure on the ulnar nerve. The most effective treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome is stopping the activity that is causing the problem. Treatment may include:
- Avoidance of undue pressure on the elbow during daily activities.
- Wearing a protective elbow pad (to protect against chronic irritation from hard surfaces) during daily activities.
- Wearing a splint during sleep to prevent over-bending of the elbow.
- Nerve gliding exercises.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines
What does Cubital Tunnel feel like?
Cubital tunnel syndrome can cause pain, loss of sensation, tingling and numbness in the hand or ring and little finger. These symptoms are often felt when the elbow is bent for a long period of time, such as while holding a phone or while sleeping. Cubital tunnel syndrome can be treated with rest, exercise and medicines to help with pain and inflammation.
How long does it take to recover from Cubital Tunnel Surgery?
The recovery period after cubital tunnel surgery varies from patient to patient. After surgery a splint will be applied to the elbow holding it in a bent position. This will be worn anywhere from 2-4 weeks to allow the incision to heal and let the ulnar nerve set into its new position. Symptoms such as numbness or tingling may improve quickly or may take up to six months to go away.
Post Operative Activities
- After surgery, you will be in a bulky dressing (bandage) that covers your
elbow, forearm, and wrist. The bandage must be kept dry.
- The bandage may be removed after 5 days. You will need to cover your
incision with clean dressings that should be changed daily.
- You may start moving your elbow, wrist, and fingers for light activities right
- Normally, cubital tunnel syndrome doesn't return after surgery. That said, results may vary depending on the severity of the condition before the surgery was performed. The numbness should be resolved after surgery, but if the nerve was severely damaged, the surgery will be carried out for the purpose of preventing further damage while trying to restore as much sensation as possible to the fingers.
- Elevate your hand above your heart as much as possible to lessen
swelling and pain. Pillows and blankets under the arm are helpful when
you go to sleep.