Cubital tunnel syndrome happens when the ulnar nerve, which passes through the cubital tunnel (a tunnel of muscle, ligament, and bone) on the inside of the elbow, is injured and becomes inflamed, swollen, and irritated.
Cubital tunnel syndrome causes pain that feels a lot like the pain you feel when you hit the "funny bone" in your elbow. The "funny bone" in the elbow is actually the ulnar nerve, a nerve that crosses the elbow. The ulnar nerve begins in the side of your neck and ends in your fingers.
Cubital tunnel syndrome may happen when a person bends the elbows often (when pulling, reaching, or lifting), leans on their elbow a lot, or has an injury to the area.
Arthritis, bone spurs, and previous fractures or dislocations of the elbow can also cause cubital tunnel syndrome.
In many cases, the cause is not known.
The following are the most common symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome. However, each person may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome may resemble other medical conditions or problems, including medial epicondylitis (golfer's elbow). Always see a healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnostic tests for cubital tunnel syndrome may include:
The most effective treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome is stopping the activity that is causing the problem. Treatment may include:
If these treatments do not work, the healthcare provider may talk to you about:
To prevent cubital tunnel syndrome:
Call your healthcare provider if you have:
The University of Chicago Medicine
5841 S. Maryland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637 | 773-702-1000
Appointments: Call UCM Connect at 1-888-824-0200