Cubital Tunnel Syndrome 101

Wednesday, 8 June 2016  |  Paul

Have you been experiencing some strange sensations in your hand? You may not have realised it but these could well be Cubital Tunnel Syndrome symptoms. Numbness and tingling in the fingers, weakening of the grip and even difficulty moving the fingers are all some of the common side effects. This can make it difficult to carry out even simple daily tasks.

The good news? It's not a life-changing condition, and you're not in any real danger. The bad news? It's still a real inconvenience, and you're going to have to do something about it if you want to minimise the effects, or get rid of it altogether.

What is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

Cubital tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure or stretching of your ulnar nerve, which runs along the inner side of the elbow. The ulnar nerve is one of the three main nerves in the arm, and travels all the way from your neck down to your hand. The ulnar nerve can, however, be constricted at several points along the way, the most common of which is at the elbow. When this occurs, you will start to see the effects of Cubital tunnel syndrome.

Causes of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital tunnel, as mentioned above, is caused by this constriction and pressure on the nerve. The ulnar nerve is vulnerable to compression at the elbow, as it must go through a narrow space without much protection from soft tissue. Compression can be caused by various factors such as:

  • Keeping your elbow bent/repeatedly bending the elbow
  • Leaning on the elbow for long periods of time
  • Bony spurs or cysts
  • Fluid build up/swelling in the elbow
  • Narrowing of the tunnel because of arthritis

Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome symptoms can cause an aching pain on the inside of the elbow, however, most symptoms involve the hand. Here are some of the most common:

  • Numbness and tingling in the ring finger and little finger. These symptoms often come and go, but happen more often when the elbow is bent
  • A feeling of "falling asleep" in the ring and little fingers, which can make moving them/manipulating objects difficult
  • Weakened grip/difficulty with finger coordination during activities such as typing or playing an instrument
  • If the nerve has been compressed for a long time, muscle wasting may occur

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Treatment

There are a number of things you can do to try and keep this condition at bay, and while Cubital tunnel syndrome surgery is an option if the problem persists, a support or brace is also a simple yet effective option. Some doctors will recommend an elbow splint to keep your elbow straight at night, since having it bent for long periods can exacerbate the problem. 

Another good idea is to combine the splint with some Cubital tunnel syndrome exercises. One example is to have your elbow straight, and put your arm out in front of you. First curl your wrist and fingers towards your body, then extend them away from you, and finally bend your elbow.

If you're looking for a Cubital tunnel syndrome brace though, then you've come to the right place. Here at Health and Care, we're proud to offer the Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Elbow Splint. With consistent wear, your problems will hopefully subside, without the need for costly and invasive surgery.