Like its counterpart that strikes your wrists, carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome hits your elbows. Cubital tunnel syndrome treatment usually resolves itself with rest when it’s diagnosed early. Treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome relies on a wide range of modalities to help you avoid further complications. Come to our sports injury and pain management clinic to get your elbow pain evaluation and treatment. Meet our elbow doctor Febin Melepura M.D. to get the pain relief you need in the safe, reassuring hands of the best elbow specialists in NYC.
While cubital tunnel syndrome and radial tunnel syndrome aren’t as widely known as carpal tunnel syndrome, that doesn’t mean that they’re any less harmful. And these two conditions are often mistaken for its more well-known cousin. Like carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome also causes:
- Severe pain
- Numbness in your wrist, hand or arm
- Tingling in your hand or arm
- Muscle weakness in your hand or arm
Increased pressure is the most common cause of these conditions. Your bone or connective tissue may be putting pressure on a nerve in your wrist. This is called nerve compression. Most cases of cubital tunnel syndrome or radial tunnel syndrome react well to conservative treatment when prescribed by your Midtown Manhattan sports medicine and pain management doctor. However, if your case is more severe, surgery may be necessary to reduce the pressure on your nerve.
The What and Why of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Cubital tunnel syndrome is also called ulnar neuropathy. Your ulnar nerve is actually pretty close to the surface of your skin and is located around the infamous “funny bone” in your elbow. You have an increased risk of cubital syndrome if you:
- Constantly lean on your elbow. Hard surfaces can make this a lot worse.
- Bend your elbow for long periods of time. This can include simple things you wouldn’t expect, such as:
- Holding your phone to your ear
- Sleeping with your arm bent beneath your body or your pillow
Cubital tunnel syndrome can also be caused by:
- Abnormal bone growth in your elbow
- Intense physical activities
Any activity that puts extra pressure on your ulnar nerve can potentially result in this condition. Catching early symptoms can save you pain and trouble down the road. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should contact your New York City physician immediately:
- Elbow pain or numbness
- Tingling in your ring finger or little finger
If your condition is more advanced, your symptoms are usually more serious. Here are a few things to look out for:
- Weakness in your ring finger or little finger
- Difficulty pinching your thumb and little finger together
- Weakened grip in your hand
- Atrophy of the muscles in your hand
- Your hand starts drawing up, like a claw
If your case has advanced to any of these symptoms, it may be possible for your doctor to diagnose you with just a simple physical exam. However, he may recommend a nerve conduction study or electromyography. Electromyography is a test that gauges the health of your muscles and nerve cells with the use of electrodes. This helps identify your problem area and determine the severity of the compression.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Treatment in Manhattan
The amount of pressure on your nerve affects which treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome is your best option. If the pressure on your ulnar nerve is minimal, more conservative methods of treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome are more beneficial. Mild cases, typically respond well to physical therapies such as:
- Avoiding extra or unnecessary pressure on your elbow
- Protecting your ulnar nerve or “funny bone” with a protective pad during physical activities
- Using a splint to hold your elbow straight while you sleep
More severe cases require surgical treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome. But don’t let this upset you; well over half of all cases are resolved by surgery. These procedures are designed to relieve pressure on your ulnar nerve. Surgical procedures include:
- Decompression of your ulnar nerve
- Shifting the position of your ulnar nerve
- Moving your ulnar nerve:
- Under a layer of fat
- Under your muscle
- Inside your muscle
- Making an adjustment to the tissue that your ulnar nerve runs beneath
Cubital tunnel syndrome treatment has a high success rate. If you do require surgery, your recovery is going to involve restrictions to movement and lifting. Rehab and physical therapy as directed by your pain expert have to be a vital part of your recovery. But a full and complete recovery can take several months.
Doing What’s Right for You
Pay attention to your body. Catching your condition early increases your chances for success with less invasive cubital tunnel syndrome treatments, which spares you from the lengthy recovery associated with surgery. Your case, however, is unique. Your team of sports medicine doctors is ready to help you figure out the best possible treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome for your individual needs.
If less invasive methods don’t improve your condition after a couple of months, it may be time to start discussing your surgical options. When surgery is your best option, patience is a virtue. Pushing yourself too hard does more harm than good. You need a medical professional in NYC to see you from cubital tunnel syndrome treatment all the way through your diagnosis and recovery.
Do you have any questions about the cubital tunnel syndrome treatment we offer in NYC? Would you like to schedule an appointment with the best rated elbow doctor Febin Melepura MD of sports injury clinic NYC? Please contact our office for consultation with the top pain relief specialist in Midtown Manhattan.