Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Treatment in Lafayette, LA
Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when the ulnar nerve is compressed. This sensitive nerve travels down the back of the elbow, behind the bony bump (medial epicondyle), and through a narrow passageway of muscles, ligaments, and bones (cubital tunnel), where it can become entrapped.
The ulnar nerve transmits sensory information from the ring and small fingers to the brain and is also responsible for the function of many small muscles in the hand. The symptoms of ulnar nerve entrapment include pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in the ring and small fingers, as well as a loss of strength and fine motor function in the hand.
What Causes Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
Oftentimes, ulnar nerve entrapment has no identifiable cause. In some cases, the condition is attributed to a bone spur or ganglion cyst around the elbow joint or repetitive activities that involve bending and flexing the elbow, such as throwing a baseball. Typically, the symptoms worsen when the elbow is bent or leaned upon, both of which can intensify the burden on the ulnar nerve.
How Is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Treated?
After evaluating the symptoms and performing a physical examination, a physician may confirm a diagnosis of cubital tunnel syndrome with an electromyography (EMG) or a nerve conduction study (NCS), both of which test the function of the ulnar nerve. After reaching a diagnosis, the physician can suggest an appropriate treatment plan.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
Treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome often begins conservatively with a combination of:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- An elbow splint worn during sleep
- An elbow pad worn during certain physical activities
- Activity modifications to avoid painful positions and movements
Surgical Treatment Options
In general, surgery is reserved as a last resort treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome. To address very severe or persistent symptoms, a surgeon may discuss a decompression of the ulnar nerve, which includes the loosening of tight tissues around the ulnar nerve. If the nerve is unstable, another option may be an ulnar nerve transposition, in which a surgeon creates a new tunnel in front of the medial epicondyle and then repositions the ulnar nerve to pass through it.
An Orthopedic Surgeon Practicing in Lafayette
Peter D. Vizzi, MD, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who practices in Lafayette, LA. Dr. Vizzi treats cubital tunnel syndrome and other hand, wrist, and elbow conditions using the most conservative approach possible. Request a consultation with Dr. Vizzi today.