The ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow or cubital tunnel syndrome happens when a nerve in your arm which called the ulnar nerve gets trapped, or something is obstructing its original position.
Your ulnar nerve is one of the biggest nerves in your body. It can be found in your arm, but its length goes a long way from your neck, arm to your hand. Because the ulnar nerve is long, it has to go through some complicated parts that might cause some entrapments or compression of the nerve.
Ulnar Nerve Entrapment
The ulnar nerve can be entrapped anywhere, but the most common entrapment of the ulnar nerve is in your elbows. The condition of an ulnar nerve entrapped is called cubital tunnel syndrome.
The symptoms of the ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow is usually a discomforting sensation of numbness. The treatments for the ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow are pretty much straightforward. If you want to immediately correct the condition of the ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow, you can get it done by surgery. However, if you are patient enough to undergo therapy, then there are lots of types of therapies out there that equally addresses the problem of the ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow.
The Physiological Structure of The Ulnar Nerve
Throughout your ulnar nerve’s length, let us focus on the elbow juncture of the length. The nerve can snake its way in up to your finger through the cubital tunnel. The cubital tunnel with the ulnar nerve entrapment at its belt goes under the medial epicondyle. The medial epicondyle bone is located right down your elbow, and this makes the under tunnel which is the cubital tunnel, close to the surface of the skin. Which why every time something puts pressure on your elbows, you have that electric sort of feeling.
Beyond the Medial Epicondyle
Remember, that the ulnar nerve is not just located in the elbow; it is a length of the nerve that can be found in your neck and hands. Now as the ulnar nerve path leaves the elbows, it goes to the muscles of the forearm and finally goes to your hands as it enters the new tunnel which is called the Guyon’s canal. As it enters the Guyon’s canal, it enters your palm and ends in your little finger. The ulnar nerve is such an important nerve because it gives sensation or feeling for the little finger and almost half of the ring finger. It supports some of the movements in your hands and contributes to giving strength to your grip. It also adds sensation on some parts of your palm, including the back side of your palm.
What is The Cause of the Ulnar Nerve Entrapment at the Elbow
There are a lot of cases of the ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow. Many of those cases are not known and the patients always almost interested in treating it immediately then know its cause. The most common known cause of the ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow is the constricting of the nerves near the elbow. The ulnar nerve is also at risk of getting injuries or trauma because it is quite near the surface of the skin.
A lot of causes might lead to constriction of the nerves near the elbow. One of its cause is the constant bending and stretching of the arm particularly in your elbow. Since the elbow is always bent, the ulnar nerve undergoes the same agony. It is stretched to its limit that sometimes, it limits to the feeling or sensation in your forearm and arms. This is when you sleep at night with your elbows bent, and you wake up the morning feeling the numbness in your fingertips. This constant constricting, stretching and pressure that the ulnar nerve undergoes can irritate the ulnar nerve and might eventually lead to ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow.
Another cause of ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow is your constant pressure on your elbow. Leaning too much using your hand and your elbow as the stand is not a good idea. Next, is the increase of fluid in your elbow that might irritate. The next cause is when something or someone hits hard your medial epicondyle, and you feel that electric shock feeling.
Risks of Getting the Ulnar Nerve Entrapment at the Elbow
These factors might make you more susceptible to having the ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow:
- Your joint in your elbow is inflamed due to arthritis or other joint issues;
- You have experienced a former trauma like dislocation in the elbow;
- When you develop bumps in your elbow;
- You do physically demanding activities that make your elbows bent all the time in an unhealthy amount of time;
What Do You Feel When You have Ulnar Nerve Entrapment at the Elbow?
1. You feel recurring pain in your elbow and sometimes in your forearm or hand.
2. There is numbness or a tingly feeling in your hands.
Numbness does not occur most often. But when your arm is subjected to constant bending and stretching in an unhealthy amount of time, you might experience numbness and a tingly feeling sensation in your hands.
Sleeping all night with your head on the bent elbows can also create numbness in your hands. This is a problem when the condition of numbness stays for a day, and you might want to admit yourself in the hospital. The other worse things about the ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow is you can’t properly move your hands or properly grip or carry a thing with your hands.
Treatment for the Ulnar Nerve Entrapment At the Elbow
For mild cases and symptoms of the ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow, you can remedy it at the comforts of your home. However, if it the symptoms of the ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow is already quite disconcerting and it already affects your day to day activities, you might consider having it checked with your doctor. Below are the things that you can do to prevent or remedy the symptoms of the ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow:
- Do not bend your arms constantly in an unhealthy period;
- Avoid as much as you can, traumas and injuries that can occur in your elbow;
- Do not lean too much with your head on your hand and your elbow as your stand;
- Do not sleep on your bent elbow.