Cubital tunnel syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome, or ulnar nerve entrapment, is diagnosed when doctors believe that your ulnar nerve in being compressed and/or inflammed at the inside of your elbow.


Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is typically treated with:

  • A split, wrap or brace.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Physical therapy

A June 2022 study (1)  from the University of Western Ontario Roth|McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Center writes: “Mild cases (of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome) can be successfully treated conservatively, aiming to reduce traction (a pull or stretching) and compression on the nerve. Surgical management of cubital tunnel syndrome is increasing in frequency. Multiple surgical options exist ranging from simple decompression to decompression and anterior transposition of the nerve. There is no preferred surgical technique.”

Another June 2022 study (2) agrees on the surgery aspect: “Studies have demonstrated no difference in outcome between surgical techniques.” They add that surgery that leaves more of the ulnar nerves in place would help the nerve recover best, provided it is stable and not compressed within the cubital tunnel.

Also from June 2022 (3), researchers did find that you could move the nerve. They write: “Decompression and anterior transposition of the ulnar nerve exerted significant therapeutic effects on moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis-induced Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.”

1 Ferguson DP, Grewal R. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome: Review of Diagnosis and Management. Handchirurgie· Mikrochirurgie· Plastische Chirurgie. 2022 Jun;54(03):253-62.
2 Wollstein R, Carlson L, Esmaeili E, Kramer A, Watson HK. An Approach to Surgery for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome: A Pilot Series. Bulletin of the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases. 2022 Apr 1;80(2):209-12.
3 Liu Z, Zhang D. Clinical efficacy of decompression and anterior transposition of the ulnar nerve in osteoarthritis-induced cubital tunnel syndrome and influencing factors. Hand Surgery and Rehabilitation. 2022 Jun 1;41(3):370-6.

Do You Have Questions? Ask Dr. Darrow

Most Popular