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Cell Phone Elbow

Cases of “cell phone elbow,” where patients experience tingling or numbness in their ring and pinkie fingers, is not a new condition. Actually, it’s a condition that can be dated back to 1958.

Cubital tunnel syndrome, or cell phone elbow, is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in that the pinching of nerves results in tingling or numbness within the hand. However, in cubital tunnel syndrome, the nerve pinched is the ulnar nerve and the pinching occurs behind the elbow.

Bending the elbow for long periods of time like when using a cell phone, sleeping with your elbows bent, or holding your arms bent and by your head can cause cubital tunnel syndrome. Although symptoms may not be immediate, using these positions can aggravate the problem and progressively irritate the nerve.

Nonconservative treatments should be used first and include
anti-inflammatory medications, splints, and avoidance of problem positions. But, if nerve damage has occurred surgical treatments can be considered and those include:

Ulnar Nerve Transposition – Requires moving the nerve from the back of the “bump” to the front to avoid pressure.

Medial Epicondylectomy – Involves removing the bump and allowing the nerve to move forward and back as the elbow bends.

For more information on cell phone elbow (cubital tunnel syndrome) and its treatment options, schedule an appointment with Southern California Orthopedic Institute by calling (877) 933-3387.

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