Cell Phone Elbow Isn’t From Phone Use

“Cell phone elbow” is not a new condition. Dating back to 1958, it causes tingling and numbness in patients’ ring and pinkie fingers.

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 pinched nerve 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. Although symptoms may not be immediate, using these positions can aggravate the problem and progressively irritate the nerve.

Nonconservative treatments should be used first; they include anti-inflammatory medications, splints, and avoidance of aggravating positions.

But, if nerve damage has occurred surgical treatments can be considered and those include:

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.

If you have finger, hand, or elbow pain, you may be experiencing cubital tunnel syndrome. To learn more about this condition and its available treatment options, request an appointment with one of our elbow specialists at The Hand & Upper Extremity Center of Georgia or call (404) 255-0226.