A pinched “funny bone” is no laughing matter! Sometimes the Ulnar Nerve (often referred to as the “funny bone’ as it runs behind your elbow) can become trapped or kinked if the elbow is hyper flexed during activities or sleep. Or, you may tend to lean or put pressure on the elbow such as when driving, keyboarding, or using an armrest or wheelchair.
Similar to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, the symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome include numbness, tingling, and burning in the fingers, palm, and forearm. The symptoms tend to be more in the small and ring finger side of the hand, but often the symptoms are as subtle as an “odd sensation” in the palm. Nerve studies can be useful in making the diagnosis of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, but can be falsely negative (meaning that the disease is present despite a negative test).
When non-operative treatment fails, release of the ulnar nerve at the elbow can be indicated. Usually the nerve can be decompressed and left in its natural position, but it may need to be moved, or transposed, to a position in front of the elbow. Surgery is done an outpatient procedure, and a short course of therapy can help speed up your recovery. Splinting after surgery is only needed if the nerve needs to be transposed.
For more information about cubital tunnel surgery, please call Dr. Timothy B. Larson, MD at 940-299-HAND to schedule your consultation.