Ulnar Nerve Compression(Cubital Tunnel Syndrome)

What is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a fairly common disorder of a large nerve located at the elbow.  The nerve, known as the Ulnar Nerve becomes compressed as it passes through a narrow tunnel.  Often there is no clear cause for the condition, although traumatic injury or repetitive leaning on the elbow can be causative.

What are the symptoms for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

Unlike its more prevalent cousin Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Cubital Tunnel Syndrome  presents with numbness of the little finger and weakness of many of the muscles of the hand.  Patients note weakness of both grip and key pinch.  Pain in the extremity is minimal, however patients often complain of a tingling sensation at the little finger side of the hand and forearm.  All symptoms are exacerbated by leaning on or flexing the elbow.

How is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome diagnosed?

The disorder is diagnosed through a thorough history and physical examination. Electrical Nerve Testing (EMG Testing) is typically ordered to confirm the diagnosis.

What is the treatment for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

Mild cases can be treated with splinting, as well as behavioral changes, aimed at reducing both pressure on the elbow and elbow flexion.  Several surgical procedures are performed to treat more advanced cases.  Dr. Steven Shoen prefers to transfer the Ulnar nerve to an area at the elbow where it is protected against pressure and flexion.  Following surgery Dr. Shoen permits patients to begin elbow exercises after just a few days.  Light activities may be started at that time, and strenuous tasks may be performed after three weeks.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Shoen at one of his two office locations (Edison area and Monroe) call 732-632-6090.