If you are experiencing a “pins and needles” sensation in your ring finger and little finger, have weakness in your hand and a loss of sensation or numbness in your hand along with pain in your forearm, you could be a victim of cubital tunnel syndrome. This condition involves the ulnar nerve. When you hit your “funny bone,” you are actually irritating not a bone, but the ulnar nerve.
The ulnar nerve runs along the inner side of the elbow. Your arm has three major nerves including the ulnar nerve. This nerve extends from your neck to your hand ending in your fingers. Any constriction of the nerve along this path can cause problems. When the compression occurs at the elbow it is called “cubital tunnel syndrome.” Here are three common causes of the condition.
Stretching of the Ulnar Nerve
Individuals who sleep with their elbow bent may wake up at night and find their fingers are numb, or “asleep.” This happens because the ulnar nerve stretches around the medial epicondyle, which is a boney ridge in your elbow. If the elbow is bent for a long period of time, such as when you are sleeping or holding the phone for a long time, the nerve gets stretched and irritated. This can cause painful symptoms.
Pressure on the Nerve
Leaning on your elbows for a period of time can cause symptoms to develop if the ulnar nerve becomes irritated. If the inside of the elbow sustains a direct blow, the pressure from the impact can cause immediate pain. It can also result in numbness or tingling in the fingers.
Irritation from Bone Structure
Some individuals may experience symptoms from ulnar nerve irritation because of anatomy. The sliding back and forth of the nerve from behind the medial epicondyle when the elbow is bent can cause irritation over time. Bone spurs can also increase the likelihood of cubital tunnel syndrome symptoms.
Importance of Treatment
Compression of the ulnar nerve can cause muscle wasting if left unchecked. If you experience symptoms such as weakness in the hand, tingling of the ring finger and little finger, and they have been present for over six weeks or are severe, you need medical attention. Muscle wasting is irreversible. Prompt treatment including physical therapy can prevent serious consequences.
Posted on behalf of Sovereign Rehabilitation
5555 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd, Suite 225
Atlanta, GA 30342
Phone: (404) 835-3340