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Injuries and Conditions > Cubital Tunnel Syndrome          
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Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
(aka Ulnar Nerve Entrapment)

Image of

                Cross-Section of WristWhat is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome? 

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a condition brought on by ongoing compression on the ulnar nerve as it passes through the cubital tunnel (which is the route the ulnar nerve takes past the elbow). There is a bump of bone on the inner portion of the elbow (medial epicondyle of the humerus) under which the ulnar nerve passes. This location is commonly called the 'funny bone'.  At this point, the ulnar nerve lies directly next to the bone and is susceptible to pressure.

What are the Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

Common symptoms usually include pain, numbness, and/or tingling, primarily in the 4th and 5th fingers, and will occur whenever there is pressure on the nerve.

To a lesser extent some individuals may experience weakness while pinching, occasional clumsiness, and/or a tendency to drop things. In severe cases, sensation may be lost and the muscles in the hand may lose bulk and strength.

What Causes Cubital Tunnel Syndrome to Develop?

Common causes include maintaining an awkward position of the elbow for extended periods of time, i.e. while sleeping or performing tasks requiring an awkward repetitive bending and straightening of the elbow.  Another frequent source is extended periods of pressure on the elbow on a hard surface such as when individuals brace or support themselves on insufficiently padded arms of a chair or a rigid tabletop for extended periods of time.

What Movements Should be Avoided if you have Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

Resting or bracing the elbows on any hard surface for extended periods of time i.e. hard arm rests on a chair, or a desktop.  Avoid prolonged postures involving significantly bent elbows (i.e. holding a receiver for an extended period should be obviated through the use of a headset).

What Types of Products can be Used to Help Prevent or Reduce the Symptoms and Incidence of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

Forearm Supports can assisting in softening potential pressure points while taking the weight of the arms off the shoulders and back.  Writing Surfaces and Corner Converters which reduce the reach for reference documents and writing areas will assist in reducing the need for awkward bending at the elbows and excessive reach. 

Last edited December 16th, 2013

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