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Old 04-17-2013   #1
ski_kayak365's Avatar
Mountains on the river!!!, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 702
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, anyone had/have it?

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is in the elbow. My ulnar nerve is loose and without support, causing numbness and pain. No surprise, got it while kayaking, smashed it on the side of my boat hucking waterfalls, even with my elbow pads. So options are to do minimal non-surgery (ice, meds, braces) and hope for no nerve damage as I get older or to consider surgery and move it to the inside of my arm.

Being the nerve that gives my hand grip strength, its not something I want damaged. The orthopedic I saw, said because I'm young there is more chance in the next whatever many years to do more damage to it. Since there is no support, the nerve bundle pops in and out of the groove in the elbow when I bend my arm.

But moving a nerve? That's complicated anyway.

Anyone had this before, either the syndrome and/or the surgery? Just curious on options, what has worked, what hasn't. Recovery time, risks, complications.


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Old 04-17-2013   #2
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,112
Boy that sounds like what was going on in my elbow last year. I think I got it from work, over time. My symptoms were the same, that fucker got more sleep than I did. I couldn't even shake someone's hand w/out flinching in pain.

Ice an a brace combined w/ anti inflamitories, it eventually abated to a point of normalacy. I'd say it lasted 6 or 7 months. Winter and cold seemed to have a negitive effect. I'm to stubborn to go to the doctor, I'm almost 38 and haven't been in at least 20 years. I thought it was tennis elbow. I got much better at welding with my left. I think I got it from iron working and welding. The brace with the built in ice pack was the only relief I could find. Good luck. Keep us posted.

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Old 04-17-2013   #3
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,112
I heard the surgery was very painful and recovery was slow for tennis elbow.
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Old 04-17-2013   #4
Idaho Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 189
I broke my elbow on the Gauley one year and had this same experience. The nerve is still out of the groove it is supposed to be in so it is extremely sensitive when i hit my elbow. However, the numbness and pain went away as my elbow healed and other than an extra funny, funny bone I think I'm ok.

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Old 04-18-2013   #5
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 772
I've had something similar for a couple years now. My pinky and half of my ring finger are always numb. From looking online it looked like something to do with the ulnar nerve, but every time I've been to the doctor I've forgot to bring it up. I've never had pain with it so maybe I just don't have it as bad as you do. After two years I'm doubtful that it will just go away on it's own.
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Old 04-18-2013   #6
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 221
Same problems I have been having for years. I was instructed to keep my arms straight whenever possible. sleeping took a while to master..... I am a side sleeper. I travel via airline a lot. On long flights I have to be sure to not cross my arms. If I do in no time the numbness and mild pain start.
I have able to get to the point where it seems I have normal strength in my grip.
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Old 04-28-2013   #7
telluride, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 27
Did go through the surgery two years ago. Had Aspen Orthos do it. The pain, numbness and sharp tingle sensation is about 90% gone. Procedure and PT wasn't that bad, been through worse. Very sensitive to cold now and cramps up often. Hand strength is still good. Does take a long time for nerve to regrow and recover. I feel it was worth it though.

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