Cubital Tunnel Syndrome & Surgery
The ulnar nerve gives feeling to the pinky and ring fingers, while also controlling fine muscle movement in the hand. It travels beyond the elbow and into the cubital tunnel, a small passage on the inside of your elbow. The medial epicondyle, or funny bone, covers this nerve passage.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the ulnar nerve becomes entrapped or pressured near the funny bone. It can become compressed and cause irritable symptoms.
When you sleep on your arm for long periods of time, you may experience a tingling or numbing sensation. When the ulnar nerve becomes entrapped, these spells of numbness become chronic. Individuals with Cubital Tunnel Syndrome have difficulty gripping or moving their fingers. Symptoms of the syndrome are most noticeable when the arm is bent. Over time, and if untreated, it can cause coordination difficulties, as well as waste away hand muscle.
It is important that individuals avoid excessive leaning or bending of the arm. Resting the nerve can alleviate some discomfort. However, if symptoms persist, surgery can provide relief. Cubital Tunnel Surgery frees the nerve and relieves pressure. Cubital tunnel treatment depends on each individual case. Sometimes the ulnar nerve is transposed (or moved), other times the cubital tunnel is cleared to provide more open space. Both methods work to free the impinged nerve.
Most cubital tunnel surgeries are successful in relieving pain and numbness. Although the incision may only take three weeks to heal, the nerve may take longer.