Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
What is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
Cubital tunnel syndrome is caused by either stretching or pressure of the ulnar nerve. This nerve is more commonly known as the "funny bone", however the shocks and zings you feel from hitting your "funny bone" are actually from putting pressure on this nerve. Many patients with cubital tunnel syndrome experience numbness and tingling in the small finger and ring fingers and some people may also experience weakness in the hand. Often times, symptoms are first noticed when waking up in the morning.
How do we treat it?
Treatment usually begins with simple changes in our lifestyle, such as sleeping with the arms at the sides instead of folded under the head and pillow, and limiting positions that keep the elbows in a bent position for prolonged periods of time. This could be holding a book or phone closely to the face for extended periods of time. There are a variety of therapeutic exercises that may also be of benefit. If symptoms don't improve, then surgery may be considered.
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What is the surgery?
Surgery for cubital tunnel syndrome involves making a small incision overlying the nerve on the inside part of the elbow. The nerve is found and carefully freed from any tissue that is putting pressure on it. This is performed as "same-day-surgery" and total time spent in the hospital is typically only a few hours. That way, you can be back in the comfort of your own home quickly.