You have probably heard of a condition called carpal tunnel syndrome. But there is a different physical issue called cubital tunnel syndrome that also might come from the job you do.
Cubital tunnel syndrome often arises from actions such as bending the elbow for lengthy periods of time or habitually setting your elbow down upon a desk chair arm, for example. Doing things like grasping a telephone receiver or driving for prolonged periods could be other work-related causes of cubital tunnel syndrome.
Cubital tunnel syndrome explained
Unlike carpal tunnel syndrome (the middle finger, thumb and index finger are involved), cubital tunnel syndrome is noticeable in your ring and pinky fingers. You might lose sensation in those fingers or feel like you have “pins and needles.”
Your ulnar nerve extends the length of your arm into your hand. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Cubital tunnel syndrome happens when that nerve is irritated or compressed…if left untreated, [it] can lead to muscle weakness and atrophy.”
Characteristic signs of cubital tunnel syndrome
These symptoms should alert you to the possibility that you could have cubital tunnel syndrome:
- Periodic numbness affecting your fingers and hand
- Fingers and hands that occasionally feel like they tingle
- Inside of the elbow could have a painful sensation
How can you make it less likely that you will develop cubital tunnel syndrome? There are some simple precautions you can take:
- Don’t keep your arm bent for long stretches of time
- Avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your elbow by placing it on the armrest of your chair at work. If you are aware of that habit, try to change it.
- No frequent leaning on your elbow
When not treated, cubital tunnel syndrome can lead to the muscles in your hand atrophying, thus becoming less flexible and functional. That can be a major physical impairment. If your cubital tunnel syndrome came from performing your job duties, workers’ compensation could help.