Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, often confused with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, manifests itself in a unique way. Unlike its more famous counterpart which affects the wrist, Cubital Tunnel Syndrome occurs at the elbow, specifically involving the ulnar nerve. This is the nerve that runs through the “funny bone” area on the inside part of your elbow.
What Causes Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
The ulnar nerve, nestled within the soft tissues of the elbow, can become compressed when these tissues thicken. This compression can reduce the blood supply to the nerve, leading to various symptoms.
Patients with Cubital Tunnel Syndrome typically report several key symptoms:
Medial Sided Elbow Pain: A pain that originates at the elbow and can radiate towards the hand.
Tingling or Decreased Sensation: This is often felt in the small and ring fingers of the affected arm.
Worsening Symptoms at Night: Many patients find their symptoms exacerbated at night. This is due to the common sleeping position with bent elbows, which puts additional stress on the nerve and further decreases blood flow.
Severity of Symptoms
The severity of symptoms can vary widely among patients:
Mild Cases: Some people experience only intermittent symptoms.
Severe Cases: In more advanced stages, symptoms become constant and more debilitating. Patients often report persistent numbness in the area served by the ulnar nerve (small and ring fingers), weakness in grip, and a tendency to drop objects.
Managing Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome can be significantly aggravating and impact daily activities. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, consulting a healthcare professional is crucial for proper diagnosis and management. Early intervention can prevent the progression to more severe stages and help maintain a good quality of life.
Remember, while these symptoms might seem minor at first, they can escalate to more serious conditions if left untreated. Stay informed and take action early to ensure the health of your nerves and overall well-being.