what is Cubital Tunnel syndrome?
Inside of the elbow, there is a passageway known as the cubital tunnel, which is formed by ligaments, muscles, and bones. Directly through the middle of the cubital tunnel is the ulnar nerve, one of the three main nerves that exist in your arm. Also referred to as ulnar nerve entrapment, cubital tunnel syndrome may develop when the ulnar nerve becomes damaged due to an injury or other factors. If not properly and promptly treated, cubital tunnel syndrome can develop into irreparable nerve damage. At Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta, Dr. Christopher Williams works to diagnose and treat cubital tunnel syndrome to allow patients to have the full use of their arm and elbow without pain and discomfort. Discover more about treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome by contacting our innovative Atlanta, GA facility to schedule your initial consultation.
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what are Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel syndrome?
There are several symptoms associated with cubital tunnel syndrome. The most common include:
- A tingling sensation and numbness in the arm and fingers
- Weakness in the hands
- Reduced muscle integrity, tone, and mass at the back of the hand
- Significant pain and discomfort in the hands
- Pulsating, aching discomfort within the inside of the elbow
- Discomfort that worsens at nighttime
what Causes Cubital Tunnel syndrome?
Cubital tunnel syndrome can be caused by an injury to the area or be the result of repetitive movement of the elbow. In other instances, it could be the result of a bone spur or previous fracture or dislocation of the elbow. Additionally, individuals with arthritis are much more susceptible to developing cubital tunnel syndrome. In some instances, the exact cause of the condition may not be fully known. In order to properly diagnose cubital tunnel syndrome, Dr. Williams may conduct a nerve conduction test, an electromyogram, or an x-ray to identify any areas of compression to the ulnar nerve.
What Are the Risk Factors of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta specializes in diagnosing and treating this condition, focusing on restoring arm and elbow functionality while minimizing pain and discomfort. The risk factors for developing cubital tunnel syndrome include:
- Repetitive elbow movements or prolonged elbow bending
- Previous elbow injury, fracture, or dislocation
- Presence of bone spurs or arthritis in the elbow
- Activities that put prolonged pressure on the elbow
Recognizing these risk factors early can aid in preventing cubital tunnel syndrome or managing its symptoms effectively with the help of specialized care from professionals, like Dr. Williams.
How Is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed?
Cubital tunnel syndrome diagnosis involves a comprehensive evaluation of symptoms and medical history. Our team at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta will typically begin with a physical examination to assess tingling, numbness, and weakness along the ulnar nerve's pathway, particularly in the hand and forearm. Tapping the ulnar nerve at the elbow and holding the elbow flexed can reproduce symptoms. Imaging like an MRI might be used to rule out other causes. Combining these findings aids in accurate diagnosis and guides appropriate treatment decisions for cubital tunnel syndrome.
how do you treat cubital tunnel syndrome?
A number of treatments are available to eradicate the symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome, depending on the severity of your condition. Typically, Dr. Williams will first suggest rest, physical therapy, a splint, or anti-inflammatory medications to help ease your pain and discomfort. If these are ineffective, he may then recommend steroid injections in order to reduce swelling and inflammation in the area. In more severe cases or if no other treatments have helped, a cubital tunnel release surgery may be the best option for long-term results. During your comprehensive consultation, Dr. Williams will evaluate your current symptoms and medical history to create the best treatment plan for your specific needs and concerns.
Cubital tunnel syndrome FAQs
How is cubital tunnel syndrome different from carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is common and does cause similar symptoms, such as numbness and tingling in the fingers. However, the carpal tunnel is located on the palm side of the wrist. Patients experience symptoms when the median nerve within this tunnel is compressed. Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta can determine which condition you have during an assessment.
What if cubital tunnel syndrome goes untreated?
Cubital tunnel syndrome can lead to permanent nerve damage when left untreated. Problems like numbness, tingling, weakness, and discomfort can impact your daily activities and leave you in pain. If you experience these symptoms, it's important to start treatment immediately so you can return to your life with minimal disruption.
How do you help patients with cubital tunnel syndrome?
Dr. Williams has years of experience assisting patients with cubital tunnel syndrome, and our team is excited to be serving residents throughout the Atlanta area. Whether we decide to treat your symptoms with or without surgery, we take your needs and preferences into account so you can live pain-free again.
What surgeries are usually performed to treat cubital tunnel syndrome?
Surgery to treat cubital tunnel syndrome is typically administered after nonsurgical treatment options have been utilized to no avail. If your condition has not improved, cubital tunnel release is the most common surgical option. However, ulnar nerve anterior transposition or medial epicondylectomy is sometimes performed to relieve pain at the ulnar nerve.
What behaviors or activities make cubital tunnel syndrome more likely to develop?
Motion or rest that puts stress on the elbow makes developing a cubital tunnel more likely. For example, chronic placement of the elbow on a hard surface, laying down or sleeping with the elbow bent awkwardly, or sports or exercise that involve an elbow-snapping motion can all contribute to the condition.
Get relief today
Dealing with cubital tunnel syndrome can be both painful and debilitating. Thankfully, Dr. Christopher Williams and his team are here to help and can offer your restorative results. Contact our Atlanta, GA facility to learn more and to schedule a consultation to get one step closer to pain relief.