Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is caused by compression of the ulnar nerve at the inner portion of the elbow. This is the same nerve that produces shooting pain and numbness down the arm when an individual bumps their “funny bone.” The ulnar nerve travels along the inside of the arm through the “cubital tunnel” before making its way to the hand, thereby giving this condition its name.
When the tunnel is narrowed by compression from muscle, tendon, or bone, it can cause the ulnar nerve to become entrapped. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome can also be caused by frequent shifting or stretching of the ulnar nerve, by flexing the elbow for prolonged periods, or by leaning on the elbow for prolonged periods of time.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome may cause numbness, tingling,weakness, or pain from the inner side of the elbow down to the hand, particularly the ring and pinky fingers. An Electromyogram (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Study (NCS) can help diagnose Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.
Treatment of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome includes rest, use of a elbow pad to provide cushioning of the nerve, and anti-inflammatory medications. In severe cases of pain, numbness, or weakness, surgery may be needed to relieve pressure on the nerve.