Not Carpal, it’s the Other Tunnel Syndrome

Protect your elbows!

Everyone knows about carpal tunnel syndrome. It can make the thumb side of your hand feel like it’s always numb, asleep, or tingling. It’s become “popularized” because of its relationship with technology. I myself thought I might be at risk due to all the typing and ten-keying that I do.

But, did you know that there’s another tunnel syndrome? It’s called cubital tunnel syndrome. The cubital tunnel goes through the elbow and carries the ulnar nerve. If you’ve ever hit your funny bone, you’ve experienced an irritation of the ulnar nerve.

Approximate Affected Area

The result of cubital tunnel syndrome is that the that the pinky side of your hand can feel like it’s gone numb. This is because the ulnar nerve is connected directly to the little finger. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome affects the pinky finger, the first half of the ring finger, and the rest of the hand below these two fingers.

There are multiple potential causes for cubital tunnel syndrome, a form of ulnar nerve entrapment, but the two most common are sleeping with your elbow bent at a severe angle and leaning on your elbows.

Several years ago, I raised my desk in order to try and keep my wrists straight in an effort to ward off carpal tunnel syndrome. I found myself leaning on the desktop with my left arm while mousing with my right. I never thought it was a problem until the early stages of cubital tunnel syndrome started to appear. I may have simply been trading one tunnel syndrome for another.

Although impingement at the cubital tunnel is the most common form of ulnar nerve entrapment, impingement can also occur at the ulnar tunnel (also known as Guyon’s canal).

Find out more about cubital tunnel syndrome on WebMD