Senior Care - How to Provide Elderly Independence

3 Tips For Managing Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

by Stephen Silva

If you are dealing with mild to moderate cubital tunnel syndrome, managing your condition with diligent self-care can help prevent worsening of symptoms. In extreme cases, you may need to consider surgical intervention to minimize long-term nerve damage.

Work On Changing Behaviors

When you have cubital tunnel syndrome, the nerve entrapment frequently occurs at your elbow, and you want to be conscientious about increasing pressure on your elbow. You may unconsciously rest your elbow on the table or otherwise lean on your elbow. In order to reduce the numbness in your fingers, you will need to work on changing these behaviors. If you need a reminder, consider affixing a bulky elastic bandage to your elbow. When you lean on your elbow, it will remind you to change your position. Also, try to avoid keeping your elbow bent for long periods.

Sleep Differently

You may need to adjust to sleeping in a different position to avoid waking up with numbness. If you are a side sleeper and sleep on the same side as the affected arm, try sleeping with your arm slightly in front of your body and propped up on a pillow. Since your arm is moved out of the way, this will prevent you from sleeping with your arm tucked under your body.

If it is common for you to sleep with your head resting on your hand or another position that keeps your elbow bent, you will need to condition yourself to sleep differently. When sleeping on your back, resting your elbow on a pillow can also keep your arm out of the way and prevent any unintentional compression of your elbow.

Consider Surgery

Regardless of changes in your behavior, your cubital tunnel syndrome may progress and require medical treatment. If you are experiencing numbness in your fingers regularly, you should consider having surgery to prevent permanent damage to the ulnar nerve. Cubital tunnel release is a minor surgery, and you can usually go home the same day.  Your surgeon will make a small incision near your elbow, if this is the site of entrapment, and release the nerve from the cubital tunnel. With a successful surgery, you should notice that bending your elbow does not cause or exacerbate numbness in your fingers.

Taking a proactive approach to cubital tunnel syndrome can help alleviate the discomfort associated with the condition. If you are experiencing significant numbness, choosing a surgical option can help restore nerve function to your fingers and possibly prevent permanent nerve damage.

For more information, contact Northwoods Family Orthopaedics SC or a similar organization.