Dr. Douglas E. Pittner answers your questions about Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.
My doctor said I have cubital tunnel syndrome. What does that mean?
The cubital tunnel is the name for a space, like a tunnel, at the inside of the elbow. It is where your ulnar nerve (the “funny bone” nerve) travels around the elbow and into your forearm. Sometimes problems develop in this area. It is possible for this tunnel to be too tight, causing pressure on the ulnar nerve. The nerve can also be stretched as it travels around the elbow. Cubital tunnel syndrome refers to the pain, numbness, or weakness that is caused by these problems around the elbow.
Why do my fingers to go numb?
The ulnar nerve travels from your elbow to your hand and provides sensation to your fingers as well as connections to important muscles in your hand. The nerve acts like an electrical wire that sends signals to and from the hand. When this nerve is stretched or compressed at the elbow, the electrical signals can be slow. Your body interprets this as numbness or tingling, usually in the small and ring fingers. You may experience pain in the elbow or forearm. Weakness can also develop in the hand muscles which can cause decreased strength with gripping or pinching.