Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Cubital tunnel syndrome is a condition where there is increased pressure on the ulnar nerve in your elbow. The ulnar nerve controls muscles and feeling in the hand. Cubital tunnel syndrome may be caused by direct pressure, stretching, or decreased blood flow to the ulnar nerve.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

  • Surgery may cause an infection, pain, swelling, or bruising. Surgery may also cause nerve damage, which can cause numbness in your arm and hand. Surgery may damage the muscles, ligaments, or blood vessels in your arm. Even after treatment, you may still have symptoms. You may need surgery again.

  • Without treatment, your symptoms may not go away or get worse. Your hand and fingers may become very weak. You may have problems using your arm or hand. You may not be able to grab, squeeze, or lift items. It may be hard for you to do your daily activities.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Medicines:

  • NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling and pain. NSAIDs are available without a doctor's order. Ask your caregiver which medicine is right for you and how much to take. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems if not taken correctly.

  • Steroid: This injection helps decrease pain and swelling.

Tests:

  • MRI: This scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your elbow. You may be given dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell caregivers if you are allergic to iodine or shellfish. You may also be allergic to the dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell caregivers if you have any metal in or on your body.

  • Ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to show pictures of your elbow and forearm tissues on a monitor. An ultrasound may show the cause of the pressure against your ulnar nerve.

Treatments:

  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist can show you exercises to help improve movement and strength. Physical therapy can also help decrease pain and loss of function.

  • Elbow splint or brace: You may need a brace or splint on your elbow to decrease your arm movement. This will help to keep pressure off your ulnar nerve. You may also need elbow pads to protect your elbow.

  • Surgery: You may need surgery to take pressure off your ulnar nerve. Your caregiver may move your nerve to a different area to stop it from being stretched or pinched. Your caregiver may remove part of your bone if it is pressing on your nerve.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Cubital Tunnel Syndrome (Inpatient Care)

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