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Ulnar Neuropathy

Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group

Neurological Surgery located in Birmingham, AL

Ulnar neuropathy causes uncomfortable tingling, muscle weakness, and other symptoms that can make it difficult to perform daily activities. The team of experienced providers at Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group can diagnose the exact cause of your symptoms, and provide effective treatment to end your pain. If you suspect you may have ulnar neuropathy, call the office in Birmingham, Alabama.

Ulnar Neuropathy Q & A

What is ulnar neuropathy?

When you hit your “funny bone” in your elbow and experience a tingling sensation, you’ve temporarily compressed your ulnar nerve. This long nerve runs from your shoulder to your little finger and allows you to move muscles in your forearm and fingers. Ulnar neuropathy is a condition caused by chronic compression of the ulnar nerve. 

What causes ulnar neuropathy?

A common cause of ulnar neuropathy is cubital tunnel syndrome. The ulnar nerve runs through a tunnel formed by bone and cartilage as it crosses your elbow. Fluid buildup within your elbow, traumatic elbow injuries, and sleeping with your arms bent can cause ulnar nerve compression within the cubital tunnel.

Other causes of ulnar neuropathy include:

  • Tumors or cysts
  • Elbow fractures
  • Arthritis

People who participate in sports and other activities requiring frequent bending of the elbow have an increased risk for ulnar neuropathy. Sometimes, ulnar neuropathy can arise due to compression of the nerve in the neck or shoulder.

What are the symptoms of ulnar neuropathy?

  • Pain in the inner elbow
  • Numbness or tingling that radiates down the arm or into the fingers
  • Weakness of the wrist and hand
  • Popping or snapping sensations within the elbow joint

Over time ulnar neuropathy can lead to muscle atrophy, and severe cases may result in a claw-like deformity of the hand.

How is ulnar neuropathy diagnosed?

To diagnose ulnar neuropathy, your physician at Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group performs a physical exam, reviews your medical history, and discusses your symptoms with you in detail. Your doctor may also order an MRI imaging, and perform a nerve conduction study, where they tap along the path of the nerve and record your pain response.

How is ulnar neuropathy treated?

The experienced doctors at Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group begin with a conservative approach to treating ulnar neuropathy. This may include:

  • Rest and activity modification
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Elbow pads or braces
  • Injection therapy

If these treatments don’t improve your symptoms, surgery may be necessary to alleviate your pain. The skilled surgeons at Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group have extensive experience performing surgical procedures that address ulnar neuropathy.

If you’re suffering from ulnar neuropathy symptoms, schedule a consultation with a team member at Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group today.