Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Plymouth Orthopaedic and Sports Injury Clinic

What is it?

Pressure on the ulna nerve at the elbow resulting in reduced nerve function.

Symptoms

Pins and needles and numbness, often worse on the little finger -side of the hand. There is sometimes pain in the hand and arm: the elbow in particular may be sensitive. The hand may feel weak or clumsy.

What causes it?

Compression may be due to a tight ligament, a muscle or altered anatomy (e.g. after a fracture). Often there is no clear cause.

Treatment

Splints - a splint may be worn at night to prevent the elbow bending and reduce symptoms
Surgery - Cubital tunnel decompression (release of the ulnar nerve), performed under general anaesthetic as a day case procedure. A curved incision is made around the back of the elbow and the nerve is released. Dissolving stitches are used and the elbow is bandaged for 2 weeks. Average time off work is 3 weeks.