Ulnar neuropathy, also called cubital tunnel syndrome, is a nerve compression disorder caused by pressure on the ulnar nerve, which runs down the arm and into the hand. Ulnar neuropathy has many causes, including repeatedly placing the inner part of the elbow against a table, bending the elbow for long stretches of time, elbow injuries, bicycling, and activities that require repetitive wrist movements. You may experience numbness, tingling and pain and hand weakness if you develop ulnar neuropathy. In some cases, simple position changes can eliminate symptoms, but more aggressive treatment is sometimes necessary.
Figure out what is causing your ulnar neuropathy, and make necessary adjustments to keep pressure off the nerve. Try to keep your elbow off hard surfaces, and avoid bending the arm for extended periods of time. If bicycling is causing your ulnar neuropathy, try repositioning your hands on the handlebars, according to the University of Michigan Health System.
Consider wearing a splint at night to keep your elbow straight, and use an elbow pad during the day if it helps you keep pressure off the ulnar nerve.
Ask your doctor to refer you to a therapist who can show you ways to keep from straining the ulnar nerve.
Talk to your doctor about anti-inflammatory medications that can reduce inflammation of the ulnar nerve.
Consider surgery if you have severe ulnar neuropathy or if your condition does not improve with other treatment. Surgery to shift the ulnar nerve to another position may be recommended, according to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.
Tips & Warnings
- While ulnar neuropathy can often be cured, some severe cases may not resolve completely.
- If you continue to perform the activity that led to your ulnar neuropathy, you may worsen the condition and cause further damage.
- Let the injury heal before performing activities that may irritate the nerve.