Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Elbow FAQ


My friend was diagnosed with a problem in her elbow that caused numbness in her fingers. She said it was something like carpal tunnel syndrome. How is this possible?


Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition where the ulnar nerve, the nerve that passes from your forearm into your hand through the wrist, becomes inflamed or irritated from pressure or constant friction within the carpal tunnel in the wrist. This ulnar nerve also must pass through your elbow to get down to the wrist and there, it passes through the cubital tunnel. As with the wrist, the ulnar nerve in the cubital tunnel can become irritated or inflamed if it is overused by constant or repetitive motions of the elbow. When this happens, the fourth and fifth fingers of the hand may become numb or tingly. Joon Shik Yoon, MD, PhD, Francis O. Walker, MD, and Michael Cartwright, MD. Ulnar Neuropathy With Normal Electrodiagnosis and Abnormal Nerve Ultrasound. In Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. February 2010. Vol. 91. No. 2. Pp. 318-320.

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