Orthopedic Treatment For Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

by Administrator 21. August 2014 11:05

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, also known as Ulnar Nerve Compression, refers to a condition when the Ulnar nerve (which travels from your neck down into your hand), gets compressed on the inside edge of the elbow. The Ulnar nerve originates from the side of the neck and passes through the Cubital Tunnel, just behind the inside edge of the elbow, and goes into the hand. The Tunnel has many muscles, ligaments and bones. The Ulnar nerve works with the muscle that pulls the thumb into the palm of the hand.

Causes

  • Frequent bending of the elbow
  • Bending elbow for sustained periods
  • Repeatedly leaning on the elbow
  • Strenuous physical activities or sports
  • Abnormal bone growth in the elbow
  • Blow or injury to Cubital Tunnel
  • Fluid buildup in the elbow

Some risk factors include previous fracture, arthritis, bone spur or cysts near the elbow joint.

Symptoms

  • Numbness on the inside of the hand
  • Pain
  • Inability to move fingers in and out
  • Tingling in the ring finger or little finger
  • Difficulty with finger co-ordination and gripping
  • Weakening of muscles in the hand
  • Decreased grip
  • Muscle wasting

Diagnosis

For diagnosing the problem the orthopedic surgeon conducts physical examination and checks the medical history of the patient. If doctor suspects that something abnormal is pressing on the nerve, then he/she may ask for an X-ray. Nerve tests such as EMGS can also help in determining the extent and location of nerve compression.

Treatment

Usually the doctors recommend non surgical treatments including medicines, injections and exercises. The orthopedic surgeon can prescribe some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce the swelling around the nerve. Patients can also be asked to use a padded brace or splint at night to keep the elbow in a straight position. Some exercises are recommended that help in keeping the wrist and elbow flexible and avoid stiffness. In severe cases however, orthopedic doctors suggest surgery to take pressure off the nerve. If non-surgical methods are not effective, then surgery is done to relieve pressure on the Ulnar nerve at the elbow and the new growth of tissues heals the ligament and offers sufficient space for the Ulnar nerve to glide.

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