CUBITAL TUNNEL SYNDROME

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Cubital tunnel syndrome is a condition where the ulnar nerve is exposed to a compression or pressure and causes some problems such as pain, swelling, numbness and loss of force. The nerve progresses between the two distinct starting point of the muscle (flexor carpi ulnaris) that bends our wrist. As nerve is very superficial in this area, it is open to the pressure and trauma.

When we bend our elbow, ulnar nerve stretches and compresses by being pushed to the bone projection that we call medical epicondyl. When a long time passes with this position, for example those who sleep by putting their hands under their heads (by bending the elbow) and those who has to lean the elbow; cubital tunnel syndrome formation is easy. The connective tissue that covers the nerve thicken by reacting against to the recurrent. When transmission quality of nerve fibers between the thickened connective tissue decreased, symptoms of the syndrome appear.  

Symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome include pain, weakness, numbness especially in 4th and 5th fingers and electric shock even after small crushes on the elbow level (Figure 2). In advanced phases, it is observed that it is difficult to move fingers to each other, and 4th and 5th fingers bend reversely while the person tries to hold the hand flat.

The disease is diagnosed by detection for the findings above and EMG (Electromyography) and nerve transmission test which will be performed by neurologists.

In early cases, less trauma is tried to be provided by describing positions that stretches the nerve and revealing these symptoms. In some cases, splinter which flattens the elbow helps to moderate symptoms. Surgery is required in long term and advanced patients. Only the arm is narcotized in the surgery (axillary block anesthesia). Ulnar nerve is carried to the front of the elbow by exiting from two projecting bones in the elbow. Numbness and electrification sense may disappear within several weeks-months. Physiotherapy is needed in some cases after the surgery.

 

 

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