cubital tunnel syndrome

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Definition - What does cubital tunnel syndrome mean?

Cubital tunnel syndrome results from the ulnar nerve of the arm becoming entrapped or compressed at the elbow. This condition is characterized by a sensation of weakness, numbness, or tingling in the fingers and hand, or pain in the forearm. Holding the elbow in a static flexed position, applying constant pressure, or repetitive motion may cause this condition to develop.

SureHire explains cubital tunnel syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome is also referred to as ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow. The ulnar nerve is one of three main nerves in the arm. The nerve is protected by a tunnel of tissue, called the cubital tunnel, at the elbow and runs under a bony bump called the medial epicondyle.

Pressure on the ulnar nerve is responsible for the tingling sensation that occurs when someone hits what is commonly known as the "funny bone." Cubital tunnel syndrome results when that nerve becomes entrapped, or compressed, at the elbow.

This problem can be caused by pressure placed on the nerve when resting the elbow on a hard surface, such as bracing on a desk, for an extended time. Keeping the elbow bent or repeatedly bending the elbow during tasks may also cause muscles surrounding the ulna nerve to tighten and irritate the nerve. Repetitive or prolonged bending of the elbow may also stretch the ulnar nerve, causing it to shift position and making it more likely that the nerve will become pinched.

Cubital tunnel syndrome may cause a person who sleeps with his or her elbow bent to wake with a sensation of tingling or numbness in the hand and fingers. Tasks that involve bending the elbow, such as using a hammer or typing at a keyboard, can cause this condition to develop.

The most common treatments for cubital tunnel syndrome are behavior modifications and bracing. Using cushioned armrests may help lessen the pressure on the ulna nerve. In cases where muscle weakness or damage is caused by the condition, surgery may be required to correct the condition.

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