Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

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The cubital tunnel is an anatomic area around the elbow where the ulnar nerve runs down the arm. The ulnar nerve is responsible for sensation to the ring and little fingers, as well as movement of the fingers and thumb. In the cubital tunnel the ulnar nerve can become squeezed and blood supply to the nerve and its lining can become constricted. This can lead to pins-and-needles (paraesthesia), progressive loss of sensation and weakness of the hand, causing you to drop things and lose grip strength.

Your GP or Dr Yu will arrange a nerve conduction study for you which is performed by a neurologist. This tests the nerve and the muscles supplied by the ulnar nerve and can help confirm how severe the problem is. Mild cubital tunnel syndrome can be managed with splinting of the elbow at night-time, anti-inflammatory medications, and avoiding provoking activities.

If non-operative management is unsuccessful then Dr Yu may recommend surgery. This operation will involve a cut (incision) on the inside aspect of the elbow to thoroughly open the cubital tunnel and release the nerve from its constrictions. If necessary, the nerve is also moved out of the cubital tunnel. Following surgery, there will be a period of tailored rehabilitation where the elbow is allowed to move gently.

"My goals as a surgeon are to relieve your pain, restore your function, and get you back to doing what you love."
Adelaide Shoulder Surgeon
Dr Raymond Yu
Shoulder | Elbow | Wrist Surgeon

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