Ulnar Nerve Vulnerability

The ulnar nerve must pass beneath the medial epicondyle (“funny bone”), and its position makes it especially susceptible to damage. When the nerve is disturbed, it can lead to tingling, numbness, and pain in the elbow, forearm, hand, or fingers.

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Why Choose The Atlas Institute of Peripheral Nerve Care?

The Atlas Institute of Peripheral Nerve Care is a top destination for patients seeking enhanced mobility, comfort, and quality of life. Our skilled, dedicated providers use cutting-edge diagnostic and therapeutic technology to accurately assess your condition and create a success-oriented treatment plan for resolving your concerns. We are known for going above and beyond for our patients so that they can once again enjoy the freedom of living pain-free. Our competent, detailed-oriented board-certified practitioners provide the widest range of solutions, both non-invasive and surgical, often taking a combination approach to get to the root of your ailments.

What Causes Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

The ulnar nerve in the elbow may experience pressure for several different reasons. Since the nerve is positioned adjacent to the bone, it has little padding to protect it. Everyday actions, such as leaning your arm against a table for too long, can cause pressure on the nerve, resulting in numbness, tingling, and discomfort. If the elbow is bent for too long a period, as commonly happens when you are asleep, the ulnar nerve may be stretched across the medial epicondyle, leading to Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.

Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome typically include numbness, tingling, and pain felt more in the little and ring fingers and most often experienced when the elbow is resting on a surface or is repetitively bent and straightened. Simple activities such as holding the phone or sleeping may trigger Cubital Tunnel Syndrome if they put pressure on the ulnar nerve. Some patients may experience weakness, clumsiness, or loss of sensation.

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How is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed?

Our caring providers will measure the distribution and pattern of your symptoms, checking for muscle weakness, nerve irritability, and shifts in sensation. Our thorough medical review will include assessing the health of your thyroid and testing for diabetes. Tests such as an EMG (electromyography) and an NCS (nerve conduction study) may be conducted to detect Cubital Tunnel Syndrome and confirm its severity.

Treatment for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

When EMG/NCS testing shows that there is minimal pressure on the ulnar nerve, there may be a non-invasive way to resolve symptoms of discomfort and tingling. Changing the way you use your elbow, supporting the elbow with a splint at night, or wearing an elbow pad to protect your “funny bone” can often help lessen pain and restore mobility. Booking a session with a physical therapist can be an excellent way to learn more about avoiding pressure in the elbow area. For more severe cases of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome in Denver, surgery may be required to relieve pressure on the ulnar nerve. Your surgeon may shift the nerve to the front of the elbow, place the nerve beneath a fat layer, or reposition it under the muscle. Trimming the medial epicondyle bone may also be recommended in some cases.

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After Surgery

After your surgery for cubital tunnel release in Denver, recovery time will reflect the type of procedure performed. There may be restrictions on how much you can lift or bend the elbow, and you may need to undergo physical therapy in order to ease back into your previous level of mobility. However, a vast majority of patients require simple decompression and have minimal, if any, restrictions after surgery. Most do not even require physical therapy afterward. Symptoms of pain, tingling, and numbness may improve quickly for some, depending on the severity of their Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. While there is no guarantee that surgery will completely eliminate symptoms, most patients see a return of function and strength within several months. 

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