|Frequently Asked Questions|
What is cubital tunnel syndrome (CuTS)?
Cubital tunnel syndrome (CuTS) is a repetitive stress injury (RSI) that can result in pain and numbness in the elbow and ring & little fingers.
Do I have CuTS? What are the symptoms?
The initial symptoms of CuTS are an occasional tingling sensation along the ring and little fingers and discomfort along the inside forearm near the elbow. As the syndrome progresses, the elbow may become very sore and irritated by any kind of contact. Later, the hand muscles can become numb and weak, resulting in a slow atrophy of the arm. (More Info - Symptoms Forum)
Why do I have CuTS?
The problem occurs where the ulnar nerve passes around the elbow. The nerve rests in a groove called the "cubital tunnel" tucked behind the bony point on the elbow. Repeated stretching or hitting this nerve results in numbness, shocks and pain, similar to what you feel when you hit your "funny bone." (More Info)
What causes CuTS?
The most common causes of cubital tunnel syndrome are using a computer, sleeping on bent elbows, repetitive factory work, long-distance driving, and playing a guitar or other musical instrument. (More Info)
Should I see a doctor?
Cubital tunnel syndrome is a serious medical affliction that requires attention from a specialist who has direct experience treating cubital tunnel. Do not rely solely on this website, any other website, or your family doctor. Please see a hand doctor or surgeon, and get a second opinion if you have any doubts.
How will the doctor test if I have CuTS?
Your doctor will interview you about your symptoms, work and home activities, sleep positions, and any prior elbow injuries. Your doctor will then conduct a physical exam of your affected elbow and hand. If your doctor believes you may have CuTS, she may order special tests to get more information about the health of your ulnar nerve. (More Info - Diagnosis Forum)
How can I reduce the pain from CuTS?
You can reduce or eliminate early CuTS symptoms by stopping or reducing the activity you're doing to cause the problem. You can take Advil and other drugs to reduce pain. You can wear a brace while you work and sleep. You can use special hardware and software to reduce your pain while using computers. (More Info - Treatment Forum)
What can I do to prevent CuTS?
The first step to prevent CuTS is to ensure your work environment is ergonomically correct. Your elbows should not be bent too much, and your hands should remain in the handshake position. When using a computer, it helps significantly to have a split keyboard, vertical mouse and touch screen. And do not sleep with your elbows bent too much or tucked under your head. (More Info - Treatment Forum)
Should I have surgery for CuTS?
Most doctors will recommend that you attempt therapy and prevention techniques first before having cubital tunnel surgery. CuTS surgery is not 100% successful, and like all surgeries, there can be complications. Be sure to discuss your options thoroughly with your surgeon, family and employer. (More Info - Surgery Forum)
How successful is CuTS surgery?
Many people are helped by cubital tunnel surgery. From medical studies and anecdotal evidence on the Web, the success rate seems to be in 70% range, with most patients reporting at least some improvement. But complete recovery (no pain or tingling ever again) is less common, especially if you return to the activity that brought you pain in the first place. (More Info - Surgery Forum)