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What is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome affects the ulnar nerve, more commonly referred to as the “funny bone,” that causes numbness and tingling in the fingers, forearm, and hand. This sensation is caused by pressure or stretching of this essential nerve, running throughout the arm.
What Causes Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
There are various causes of cubital tunnel syndrome, but the three most common are listed below.
Stretching of the Ulnar Nerve
If you keep your arms bent for long periods of time, it may cause the nerve to stretch under the elbow. This sensation commonly happens when one sleeps with a bent arm under the pillow or for the course of a night.
Pressure of the Ulnar Nerve
Have you ever hit your funny bone and the tingling, pins and needles sensations are sent up your arm? This occurs when the padding over the nerve hit direct pressure, leading to the fingers, arm or hand to fall asleep.
In some cases, the ulnar nerve does not remain in position, and may rub on a bump when the elbow is bent. This repetitive action may irritate the ulnar nerve and cause complications.
Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Although cubital tunnel syndrome may cause discomfort on the inside of the elbow, most of the symptoms are found within the hand. If your hands or fingers fall asleep often when your elbow is bent, you may be experiencing cubital tunnel syndrome. Additional symptoms include numbness and tingling of the fingers, weakening of the grip, and loss of proper finger and hand function in more severe cases.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Treatment
There are some home remedies that your doctor may suggest to regain strength and normalcy of the ulnar nerve. However, there are a few surgical procedures that release the tension on the ulnar nerve, which Dr. Howland will discuss in detail what option is best for your individual case.
Cubital Tunnel Release Surgery
During the surgery, the top of the cubital tunnel is expanded, allowing a decrease in pressure on the ulnar nerve. After the procedure, the ligament and tissues around the cubital tunnel heal and patients experience relief after recovery.
If you would like to find relief from cubital tunnel syndrome, contact Howland Plastic Surgery for his reconstructive hand services in Draper, UT. We would be happy to help you schedule your appointment!
Frequently Asked Questions
What not to do with cubital tunnel syndrome?
With cubital tunnel syndrome, you’ll want to avoid leaning on your elbow or putting pressure on the inside of your arm. You’ll also want to avoid sleeping with your elbow bent and generally avoid
What precautions are taken for cubital tunnel release?
Before the cubital tunnel release surgery, you’ll want to avoid food and drink the night and morning before surgery, avoid alcohol and tobacco the day before surgery, and stay away from wearing tight clothing on the day of surgery. After surgery, keep your arm elevated above your heart for 24-48 hours, avoid soaking your incisions in water, and continue avoiding alcohol.
Should I wear a brace all day for cubital tunnel syndrome?
You can wear a brace all day for cubital tunnel syndrome, although wearing it only at night is the typical practice. If the issue continues bothering you, surgery may be a better option.
How long before you can use your hand after cubital tunnel surgery?
You will likely be able to use your hand again 2-3 months after surgery, but it can take several more months before you are fully recovered.
Is heat or ice better for cubital tunnel syndrome?
Ice. Ice will prevent swelling and decrease pain. As long as you aren’t putting the ice directly on your skin, ice is better for the symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome.