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Ulnar Nerve Entrapment

What is ulnar nerve entrapment?

Ulnar nerve entrapment, also known as cubital tunnel syndrome, is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, however the nerve is most often being pinched near the elbow. The ulnar nerve runs through a tunnel of bone and ligament along the outside of the elbow, at times becoming entrapped within this tunnel.

Ulnar Nerve

What causes ulnar nerve entrapment?

Ulnar nerve entrapment is most often caused by repeated pressure on this nerve, which causes injury and inflammation of the nerve. The ulnar nerve can also become entrapped within bone/ligament after a fracture, or within material used to fix an elbow or forearm fracture.

Who is at risk for ulnar nerve entrapment​?

  • Those who have had injury/trauma to the elbow
  • Those with a job that requires holding the elbow bent for extended periods (driver)
  • Reptitive movements (factory workers, mechanics, typing)

What are the symptoms of ulnar nerve entrapment?

  • Numbness, tingling, and/or radiating pain along the lateral portion of the forearm (the side the pinky is on), extending into the ring and pinky fingers
  • Atrophy of muscles in the hand
  • Hand weakness
  • Change in handwriting

How is ulnar nerve entrapment​ diagnosed?

How is ulnar nerve entrapment treated?

Nonsurgical

  • Using an elbow extension brace to keep the arm straight
  • Over the counter medications for symptom control (NSAIDs, acetaminophen)
  • Prescription medications for symptom control (gabapentin, Lyrica, steroids)

Surgical

Ulnar nerve decrompression and/or transposition to alleviate pressure on the nerve