Cubital tunnel syndrome is caused by either stretching of or excess pressure on the ulnar nerve. This nerve runs along the elbow’s inner groove. It sits very close to the skin’s surface. If this nerve gets stretched or pinched, it can lead to some very unpleasant symptoms.
What Are Symptoms Of The Condition?
There are some key signs and symptoms that can let both medical professionals and patients they may be dealing with this condition. Symptoms include:
• Loss of Sensation
• Exacerbated when elbow is bent
What Causes This Condition?
Numerous things can cause or exacerbate this condition. A few of the possible causes are:
• Leaning on the elbow
• Repetitive motions straining the elbow
• Sleeping with bent arms
• Bone Growth/Anatomy
How Is This Condition Formally Diagnosed?
When you feel concerned that you may be suffering from cubital tunnel syndrome, a medical professional can help you find out if you have this condition. The medical professional will look at your arms and hands, check their flexibility and movement. After the external examination, there may be blood tests for things such as thyroid disease or diabetes, for example. This is to ensure a correct diagnosis for the patient.
Another important test that doctors do for diagnosis is called EMG, or electromyography. This test looks at electrical activity throughout muscle tissues. They may also order a nerve conduction test which shows how well the nerves conduct signals. With the information from these tests, doctors can see where and how severe any damage to the nerves may be. They need to make sure that the effects aren’t from a pinched nerve in the neck, for example.
Luckily, after a diagnosis there are a wide range of treatment options available to ease discomfort and work toward full healing.
What Treatments Are Available To Patients?
The first line of treatment would include lifestyle changes and adaptions. You may be recommended to use a pillow or towel around the elbow, or wear a splint during the night to avoid further worsening. A hand therapist or other medical professional may guide you in ways to avoid unnecessary pressure on the elbow in your daily routine. You may also be advised to stop a job or hobby that exacerbates the condition. If your condition is on the severe end of the spectrum, or if it is caused by things like anatomy or bone growth, you may be recommended to have corrective surgery. This is why the diagnostic testing is important. It allows doctors and other medical professionals to see which course of action will be most beneficial in each individual case. Working closely with medical professionals after your diagnosis will help you regain quality of life. Following treatment plans can help you reduce or eliminate the symptoms of this condition and move forward with less pain.
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POSMC is a full-service medical facility specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. The practice is led by a group of 12 board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. Contact us today!