Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a nerve compression condition that occurs when the ulnar nerve, which runs from the neck to the hand, becomes compressed or irritated at the elbow. It is also known as ulnar nerve entrapment or cubital tunnel neuropathy. While carpal tunnel syndrome is well-known, cubital tunnel syndrome is less common but can be just as painful and disruptive.

person self examining arm and elbow

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man holding elbow up


Cubital tunnel syndrome can occur due to various reasons, including:

  • Prolonged elbow flexion, such as keeping the elbow bent while sleeping or talking on the phone
  • Repetitive elbow movements, such as throwing or lifting weights
  • Direct pressure on the elbow, such as leaning on the elbow for long periods of time
  • Arthritis or bone spurs in the elbow


The symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome usually develop gradually and worsen over time. They may include:

  • Pain and tenderness in the elbow and upper forearm
  • Numbness and tingling in the ring and small fingers
  • Weakness in the hand and fingers
  • Difficulty gripping objects or performing fine motor tasks
  • Loss of muscle mass in the hand
man outside holding elbow in pain
woman outside holding elbow in discomfort


There are several treatments available for cubital tunnel syndrome. In the early stages, simple strategies can help relieve the symptoms, including:

  • Avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms
  • Wearing an elbow pad to reduce pressure on the nerve
  • Performing exercises to strengthen the muscles in the hand and forearm
  • Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and inflammation

If the symptoms persist or worsen, surgery may be necessary to relieve the pressure on the nerve. The type of surgery depends on the severity of the condition and may involve releasing the nerve from its compressed position, removing any bone spurs or growths that may be causing the compression, or moving the nerve to a new position to prevent further compression.

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