Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Elbow Hand Nerves

3 Causes of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that involves the ulnar nerve, also known as the “funny bone” nerve, which runs on the inner side of the elbow. This condition can cause numbness or tingling in the ring finger and small finger (sometimes referred to as “pins and needles”), pain in the forearm, loss of sensation and/or weakness in the hand.

Here are three potential causes of this condition:

  1. Pressure: The ulnar nerve has little padding over it, so direct pressure (like leaning your arm on an arm rest) can cause the arm and hand — especially the ring and small fingers — to “fall asleep.”
  2. Stretching: Keeping the elbow bent for a long time can stretch the ulnar nerve.  This can happen while you sleep or if you are holding a phone for a long period of time, for example.
  3. Anatomy: Sometimes, the ulnar nerve simply does not stay in its place. It will snap back and forth over a bony bump as you move your elbow, which can irritate the nerve.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome can be very painful, and it can cause you to feel weak or clumsy. If you think you have this condition, visit a hand surgeon for a diagnosis. You may have a different medical condition that results in similar symptoms, such as diabetes, thyroid disease, or a pinched nerve in the neck.

Your hand surgeon may suggest non-surgical treatment options such as wearing a splint at night. He/she may also suggest surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve. It may also be recommended that you visit a hand therapist. Discuss the best treatment for you with your surgeon.

Learn more about Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, and find a hand surgeon near you.

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  • Andy Taylor
    May 31, 2019 at 9:02 AM

    I have Cubital Tunnel Syndrome in my right elbow. my little finger and ring finger are getting weaker, and both are feeling extremely cold but not to the touch. Should I be doing exercises to strengthen my fingers and how can I get my fingers warm again?



    • Becky
      June 21, 2019 at 4:00 PM

      I went to a hand physiotherapist (privately) for around £40) who gave me some exercises and some therapy putty to do them with. This helped a huge amount and has stopped the coldness in my hand too.

  • Melissa Davis
    March 28, 2018 at 4:48 AM

    I have a severe elbow tear that will require surgery. I also have Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. Can this be caused by the swelling and fluid put pressure on the ulnar nerve?

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