Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a cause of pain and weakness in the arm due to compression of the ulnar nerve near the “funny bone”. The symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome include tingling in the pinky and ring finger, weakness of the hand grip and a claw-like deformity of the hand. Wartenberg’s sign is an indication of cubital tunnel syndrome and occurs when the fifth digit assumes a position slightly away from the other fingers of the same hand.
The causes of cubital tunnel syndrome include trauma and repetitive motion of the arm. Diagnosis is obtained uses electromyography (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies(NCV) to test the electrical properties of the ulnar nerve. X-rays and MRIs of the arm are useful to exclude tumors and fractures. Cubital tunnel syndrome is often confused with golfer’s elbow and cervical disc problems which have similar symptoms. Treatment begins with conservative modalities such as heat, ice, physical therapy and splinting, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and rest. Injections into the area with a local anesthetic and a steroid may decrease the inflammatory process thereby reducing symptoms and providing more efficient physical therapy. Severe symptoms may require surgery to release the nerve compression or move the nerve.