Cubital Fossa Syndrome

In addition to a tingling, pins-and-needle sensation in the fingers and forearm, cubital fossa syndrome may also cause pain and muscle weakness when the elbow is pressed against something or bent. This occurs because the ulnar nerve runs very close to the humerus bone of the elbow. There is little to no padding between the nerve and the skin, so even slight pressure to the area—or repetitive elbow bending—can compress or irritate the nerve. If caught early, non-surgical physical therapy treatment is extremely effective in resolving the symptoms associated with cubital fossa syndrome. Physical therapy for this condition will most likely involve manual soft-tissue techniques and nerve-stretching exercises to reduce muscle tightness and restore the ulnar nerve’s ability to move unrestricted. Most physical therapists will recommend stopping any and all activities that cause aggravation or friction to the area; some may recommend wearing elbow pads or braces to prevent further issues. If physical therapy is not effective on its own, surgery to move the nerve or remove the part of the bone that is irritating the nerve may be necessary. Following surgery, physical therapy will focus on reducing swelling and restoring elbow mobility through manual therapy, exercises and stretches, and passive modalities.