Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is probably the most well know of the nerve compression problems. Pretty awful and quite debilitating pain in the wrist(s) where grasping and even sleeping can be a grind.
So what about nerve compressions, pain or restrictions in the elbow? Well I’m glad you asked……
Two of the most common nerve pathologies around the elbow are:
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Pronator Teres Syndrome
Both involve the compression of the nerve particularly at extremities of range however that is where the similarities pretty much cease to exist.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the ulnar nerve is compressed between the two heads of the flexor carpi ulnaris and the posterior elbow. The nerve pain associated is along the distribution of this nerve which run close to the ulna and can be felt as far as the little and ring fingers of the hand.
Often prolonged leaning on the elbow, repetitive throwing or extended time with the elbow flexed can be enough to cause this syndrome.
Pronator Teres Syndrome is similar in compression, but often it is the median nerve being compressed between the heads of the pronator teres muscle in the forearm. There are some anomalies according to where the nerve is according to the muscle where the nerve will be compressed against the ulna but the result is the same: a compressed nerve and a painful elbow/wrist. In my clinic, the most common people I have seen are weightlifters and bodybuilders.
So how do we treat it?
We need to assess it first with the common questions but with an emphasis on testing both the nerves and the strength (endurance) of the surrounding musculature.