A funny bone injury happens when you hit the inside of your elbow in a certain spot, and a tingling pain hits you. The aching you experience comes from hitting the ulnar nerve instead of a bone and is something many people are familiar with facing. However, if the pain doesn’t stop, it could signify an unpleasant condition known as cubital tunnel syndrome.
The Causes of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Cubital tunnel syndrome is a condition that needs special attention from a hand and wrist doctor. The injury occurs when the ulnar nerve is trapped in the cubital tunnel, consisting of muscle, ligament, and bone. It can happen because, when it gets to the elbow, the nerve travels quite close to the skin beneath a bump of bone called the medial epicondyle.
The trapped nerve then causes pain and swelling on the inside of the elbow. A knowledgeable doctor can treat the situation through nonsurgical methods, but if you wait too long to address it, chances of permanent nerve damage in the hand are high.
Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs due to long periods of bending the elbow. Actions like leaning your head on your hands, frequent flexion of the elbow, applying constant pressure to the inner portion of the elbow joint, or repetitive pulling, reaching, or lifting can cause this condition. A traumatic bone injury like a fracture or dislocation and other conditions like arthritis and bone spurs also cause this condition.
When Should You See a Doctor?
Fortunately, symptoms of this condition are distinct. It’s best to visit an orthopedic hand specialist if you experience on and off numbness or a tingling sensation in your hands and fingers, especially when you bend your elbow.
You can also watch out for a weak grip, clumsiness from muscle weakness in the affected arm and hand, difficulty coordinating fingers, pain in the pinky, ring finger, and the inside of the hand, and pain or aching in the hand or inside of the elbow.
If any of these symptoms worsen while using a handheld device, driving, sleeping, or doing any activity that involves holding something, you should seek medical help immediately.
How to Treat Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Cubital tunnel syndrome treatment usually starts with a careful diagnosis. Doctors take time to make the diagnosis and make it as noninvasive as possible to keep the patient from feeling more pain and facilitate their movement.
Some diagnostic tests include x-rays, nerve conduction tests, electromyograms or EMG, and MRI scans. Once the doctor assesses the patient’s condition, they will usually focus on reducing or eliminating the pain to improve their ability to move easily. They may suggest limiting movements that could worsen the pain, wearing a splint or elbow brace, using an elbow pad to protect the elbow, and undergoing customized physical therapy.
Depending on your condition, doctors may also recommend using steroid and analgesic injections to reduce pain and inflammation. Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) is also used to reduce soreness, while Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) accelerates healing.
An orthopedic hand specialist’s treatment will depend on the state of the patient and their condition. If you’re feeling a persistent discomfort in your funny bone, it might be time to seek professional help to avoid any permanent damage to your hand’s nerve function over time.
North Florida Hand and Wrist have the best hand and wrist doctors in Jacksonville, Florida. We prioritize providing patients with the best care possible through state-of-the-art surgical facilities and a dedicated team of professionals. Get in touch with us today to book a consultation!