Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Elbow FAQ

Question:

What is cubital tunnel syndrome? My son was just diagnosed with this condition.

Answer:

Friction on the ulnar nerve as it passes through the elbow can cause symptoms of pain, numbness, and tingling. The space or tunnel the nerve passes through at the elbow is called the cubital tunnel (CTS). The group of symptoms make up the syndrome of CTS.

Frequent throwing is a common cause of CTS. Baseball pitchers, catchers, and infielders are affected most often. When the elbow is bent or flexed, the ulnar nerve is stretched to its fullest. It may get pushed against the bone in the elbow.

Anything that strains the nerve beyond its ability to stretch or cuts off its blood supply can bring about these symptoms. Treatment usually begins with eliminating the repetitive motions and positions causing the problem.

Nonathletes with CTS may have a habit of sleeping with their arms bent and/or up overhead. These positions put the most strain on the nerve.

Mitshuhiro Aoki, MD, PhD, et al. Strain on the Ulnar Nerve at the Elbow and Wrist During Throwing Motion. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. November 2005. Vol. 87-A. No. 11. Pp. 2508-2514.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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