Cubital Tunnel

Cubital tunnel syndrome is otherwise known as ulnar nerve entrapment or stretching/pinching at the elbow. This syndrome may be caused by direct trauma to the ulnar nerve as it passes through the tunnel or via repetitive elbow motion. This syndrome causes pain and numbness and tingling down the forearm into the 4th and 5th fingers (ring and little finger).


What causes cubital tunnel syndrome?

Cubital tunnel syndrome may have a number of different causes. The most common being pressure on the ulnar nerve. The ulnar nerve has little padding, and thus direct pressure can irritate the nerve causing paresthesias through the forearm and hand in an ‘ulnar nerve distribution’ specifically the ring and little fingers. Another cause may be stretching the ulnar nerve. Keeping the elbow best for prolonged periods of time can stretch the nerve, and can happen even while a patient is asleep. Finally, anatomical variation can cause cubital tunnel. In certain peoples’ anatomy, the ulnar nerve slides over a bony surface of the elbow which may irritate the nerve and predispose to this condition.

What are the symptoms of cubital tunnel?

  • Tenderness over the ulnar nerve at the elbow
  • Weakness of the forearm and hand
  • Decreased sensation over 4th and 5th finger (ring and little fingers)
  • Pins and needles from elbow to the forearm and hand often when the elbow is bent (i.e. holding a phone)

Common Treatments Available for Cubital Tunnel