Getting early treatment for ulnar nerve compression helps you prevent complications such as permanent nerve damage and muscle loss. The board-certified team at New Braunfels Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine in New Braunfels, Texas, begins your treatment with conservative care designed to relieve your symptoms, and avoid the need for surgery. If you develop elbow pain or loss of feeling or muscle weakness in your hand, call the office or book an appointment online.
The ulnar nerve runs from your neck, down your arm, and into your hand. Along the way, it passes through several tight spaces in your collarbone, elbow, and wrist.
The nerve can easily become pinched or compressed as it goes through any of these tight areas. However, ulnar nerve compression most often occurs at your elbow, a condition called cubital tunnel syndrome.
To get past the elbow, the ulnar nerve goes through a narrow space called the cubital tunnel. The nerve is pinched when you place pressure on the tunnel.
Taking a direct blow to your elbow and conditions affecting the elbow, such as arthritis, a fluid buildup, an infection, or bone spurs can lead to ulnar nerve compression. But the top causes include:
Many people don’t realize that they lean on their elbow while working at their desk or while engaged in other activities. Placing continuous pressure on your elbow leads to ulnar nerve compression.
Keeping your elbow bent for a long time or repeatedly bending your elbow can cause and then aggravate ulnar nerve compression. This problem often occurs when you bend your elbow more than you realize while using your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Though ulnar nerve compression causes pain on the inside of your elbow and may result in a sore forearm, most symptoms occur in your hand:
Symptoms such as tingling and numbness may come and go or get worse when you bend your elbow.
Treatment for ulnar nerve compression begins with conservative therapies at New Braunfels Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine. Your doctor may recommend medication to reduce inflammation, ask you to avoid activities that put pressure on the nerve, and use a brace or splint to keep your elbow straight.
Your doctor also teaches you exercises that improve the nerve’s mobility and prevent stiffness in your arm. If your symptoms don’t improve or you develop muscle weakness, you may need surgery to release the nerve and increase the size of the tunnel.
If you develop elbow pain or weakness in your hand, call New Braunfels Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, or book an appointment online.