Cubital tunnel syndrome feels similar to the pain that occurs from hitting the “funny” bone in your elbow. The “funny” bone in the elbow is actually the ulnar nerve, a nerve that crosses the elbow (the ulnar nerve begins in the side of the neck and ends in the fingers).
The most common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are:
- Numbness and tingling in the hand and small and ring fingers
- Night symptoms
- Hand and finger pain
There are several suggested causes for cubital tunnel syndrome. Part of the reason might reside in the very way the elbow is designed to work. One common factor might be the constant bending of the elbow itself–reaching, lifting, or pulling levers. When this occurs, the ulnar nerve is stretched several millimeters. At times the ulnar nerve will shift or snap over the bony point on the inside of the elbow called the medial epicondyle. Over time, this can progressively irritate the nerve, resulting in the pain, tingling, and numbness along with weakness of some of the muscles of the hand and forearm. Nerve damage can result. The ulnar nerve can also be damaged from trauma inflicted directly to the cubital tunnel.