Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when the ulnar nerve becomes inflamed or irritated, which passes through a narrow space (cubital tunnel consisting of a muscle, ligament, and bone) on the inner side of the elbow. The pain associated with this syndrome is like the pain felt when you hit your “funny bone,” which is the ulnar nerve that crosses the elbow originating from the base of your neck and ending in your fingers. The exact cause of cubital tunnel syndrome is not known; however, arthritis, bone spurs, fracture, and dislocations often lead to cubital tunnel issues. X-rays, nerve studies (EMGs) along with a comprehensive medical and physical exam are used to diagnose cubital tunnel syndrome.
- Numbness and tingling into the hand in the ring and small finger, especially when bent
- Hand and aching pain in the inside of the elbow
- Muscle weakness and dropping objects in the affected arm/hand
- Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE)
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Aleve or Ibuprofen
- Prescription pain medication
- Bracing or Splinting
- Occupational Therapy
- Surgery (if the injury is severe that includes a tear or if conservative treatment options are not effective). Possible surgical treatments are varied depending on the specific, underlying injury.