The ulnar nerve is the ‘lesser known’ nerve to the hand which can be affected similar to carpal tunnel. The main functions of this nerve include sensation to the little and ring fingers of the hand as well as strength and fine motor movements of the hand. The ulnar nerve is most commonly pressed on as it comes around the inside of the elbow or ‘funny bone’. It can also be pressed at the wrist however. A formal testing of your nerve function is required prior to consultation.
The treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome include conservative measures such as avoiding sleeping with bent elbows and leaning on your elbows. Beyond this you may require surgery to relieve the pressure on the nerve. This may include releasing the nerve through an incision just behind the elbow on the inside of the arm. In other cases the nerve may need to be moved into a position just in front of the ‘funny bone’ to avoid pressure and slippage of the nerve after surgery.
After this surgery you will have a large bandage to pad the elbow. You may remove this after five days and begin range of motion of the elbow. Some people will require some help from the hand occupational therapist after surgery.