Hand & Wrist Conditions

Nerve compression syndromes (cubital, radial tunnel syndrome)

What are nerve compression syndromes?

Nerves provide our arms and hands with sensation and signal muscles to move. On their way from the neck into the arm and hand, nerves travel between and through muscles, around bones and through tissue layers.

There are known areas where a nerve can get compressed if a space is too tight. Nerve compression can cause pain, weakness, tingling or loss of sensation.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common nerve compression syndrome of the arm. Cubital tunnel syndrome is second most common. Typical symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome are tingling in the little and ring fingers when having the elbows bent for a while and loss of grip strength and dexterity.


Carpal tunnel syndrome (dr Paul van Minnen, Dr Nicholas Smith)

Cubital tunnel syndrome (dr Paul van Minnen, Dr Nicholast Smith)

Diagnosis & treatment of nerve compression syndromes

History and physical examination are often enough to diagnose a nerve compression syndrome. In nearly all cases the diagnosis is confirmed with a nerve conduction study.

Treatment of nerve compression syndromes typically starts with a trial of nonsurgical methods (change of posture / habits, hand therapy, splinting). If those fail to provide relief, surgical release of the compression may be required.