Cubital tunnel syndrome, or cell phone elbow, is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in that the pinching of nerves results in tingling or numbness within the hand. However, in cubital tunnel syndrome, the nerve pinched is the ulnar nerve, and the pinching occurs behind the elbow.
Bending the elbow for long periods of time, like when using a cell phone, sleeping with your elbows bent, or holding your arms bent and by your head, can cause cubital tunnel syndrome. The symptoms for it might not be immediate, but using these positions can aggravate the problem and progressively irritate the nerve.
Nonconservative treatments should be used first and include anti-inflammatory medications, splints, and avoidance of problem positions. But, if nerve damage has occurred, the following surgical treatments are possibilities:
Ulnar nerve transposition: Requires moving the nerve from the back of the bump to the front to avoid pressure
Medial epicondylectomy: Involves removing the bump and allowing the nerve to move forward and back as the elbow bends
For more information on cell phone elbow, or cubital tunnel syndrome, and its treatment options, schedule an appointment with one of our elbow experts at The Hand & Upper Extremity Center of Georgia by calling (404) 238-7280 or request an appointment online.