Why do we need exercises for cubital tunnel syndrome?
Ulnar tunnel syndrome is a disease that develops as a result of excessive pressure on the ulnar nerve in the elbow joint. Here the ulnar nerve extends into the osseous sulcus on the posterior surface of the internal epicondyle. Sometimes, when you hit the inside of the elbow, you can feel a cross in the forearm and the outside of the hand – this is a manifestation of an ulnar nerve injury in the bone groove.
Ulnar tunnel syndrome is a disease that develops as a result of excessive pressure on the ulnar nerve in the elbow joint. Here the ulnar nerve extends into the osseous sulcus on the posterior surface of the internal epicondyle. Sometimes, when you hit the inside of the elbow, you can feel a cross in the forearm and the outside of the hand – this is a manifestation of an ulnar nerve injury in the bone groove. When periodic ulceration of the ulnar nerve occurs in this area due to trauma or pressure, this can lead to ulnar tunnel syndrome. This pathology develops according to the same mechanisms as carpal tunnel syndrome, tarsal tunnel syndrome or radial tunnel syndrome. Elbow tunnel syndrome belongs to the group of compression-ischemic neuropathies.
Anatomy: where does it hurt?
The ulnar nerve originates from the lower part of the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus begins in the lower part of the neck from the anterior branches of the spinal nerves at the level of C5 – C8. Spinal nerves exit the spinal canal through small openings between the cervical vertebrae at the level of C5 – Th1.
It is believed that spinal nerves at the C7-C8 level are involved in the formation of the ulnar nerve. Nerve fibers, intertwined with the fibers of other spinal nerves, form the brachial plexus, and then, emerging from the plexuses, form nerves. The ulnar nerve is one of the large nerves of the brachial plexus. The ulnar nerve leaves the axillary cavity, following the composition of the neurovascular bundle. Approximately in the middle of the shoulder, the nerve departs from the brachial artery to the internal intermuscular septum. In the lower part of the shoulder, the nerve extends along the posterior surface of the internal epicondyle of the shoulder. On the back surface of the internal epicondyle of the shoulder there is a special bone groove for the ulnar nerve. Here, an ulnar nerve pinched may occur. If you straighten your arm, then this groove can be felt inwards from the ulnar process.
Coming out of the groove, the nerve follows the thickness of the muscles of the inner side of the forearm, responsible for their innervation, innervates the skin of the inner side of the forearm and 4 and 5 fingers, as well as the small muscles of the hand.
Causes: what is the reason for the development of cubital tunnel syndrome
There are several possible reasons for the development of ulnar tunnel syndrome. Sometimes the cause of the development of the ulnar tunnel syndrome is frequent flexion and extension in the elbow joint. When the arm is bent at the elbow joint, the ulnar nerve is pulled and pressed against the internal epicondyle, when the arm is bent at the elbow joint, the nerve relaxes. Sometimes the nerve can move a little, abutting against the inner edge of the furrow or even roll over this edge. With frequent movements, especially with muscle tension, this can eventually cause nerve irritation (ulnar neuropathy) and the development of ulnar tunnel syndrome.
Constant direct pressure on the elbow, in particular, on the area of the groove of the ulnar nerve, can also lead to ulnar tunnel syndrome over time. The nerve can get annoyed because you are not sitting at the table properly or from using the armrest during a long trip.
The cause of ulnar tunnel syndrome may be a previous injury to the ulnar nerve or a fracture of the distal shoulder.
Symptoms: why do we need ulnar nerve entrapment exercises?
Numbness on the inside of the forearm, hand, and also 4 and 5 fingers is the earliest and most frequent symptom of ulnar tunnel syndrome. If the traumatic effect on the nerve continues, then numbness is accompanied by a pulling pain from the inner epicondyle of the shoulder along the inner surface of the forearm to the hand. The accuracy of the movements of the fingers of the hand and, especially, the first finger of the hand begins to suffer, since the nerve is responsible for the innervation of the muscles of the hand.
Manifestations of pain and numbness are aggravated by bending the arm in the elbow joint. In this position, as mentioned above, the nerve is pulled. Especially exacerbation of the ulnar tunnel syndrome is prolonged bending of the arm in the elbow joint, as, for example, when talking on the phone or during sleep.
When pressed or with a slight effect on the area of the groove of the ulnar nerve, a tingling sensation may appear, or even a lumbago to the little finger. This is called Tinel’s Symptom.
10 ulnar nerve stretch exercises for the elbow joint
Therapeutic exercises for cubital tunnel syndrome
Gymnastics for the elbow joint is a common physiotherapy method used to restore mobility in the limbs after injuries, as well as arthritis and arthrosis and other joint diseases to increase the effectiveness of complex therapy. Exercise is an active means of prevention, ensuring the prevention of dystrophic and destructive processes.
Using similar techniques, mobility and work in the elbow joints can be restored. Physiotherapy exercises restores local lymph flow and blood flow, and also stops the process of progressive destruction of cartilage tissue.
- Starting position – sitting on a chair. Hands lie on the surface of the table. We perform flexion and extension of fingers. Repeat exercise 8-12 times.
- In the same starting position. We perform flexion and extension in the wrist joints simultaneously with the right and left hands. Repeat the exercise 8-10 times.
Ulnar nerve gliding exercises for an injured arm
- A sliding plane is brought under the forearm. We perform flexion and extension in the elbow joint, sliding the forearm along the polished plane. Repeat this exercise 5-6 times.
- Hands are on the surface of the table. Supination and pronation of the forearm. Repeat 6-8 times.
- Shoulder on the table, forearm pointing vertically up. Flexion and extension in the elbow joint, supporting the injured forearm with a healthy hand. Repeat 6-8 times.
- Starting position – sitting across the chair, the shoulder of the injured arm is on the back of the chair, the forearm hangs down. We perform swinging pendulum movements, bending and unbending the arm in the elbow joint. Perform 10-12 movements.
- Hands lie on the surface of the table. We exert alternating pressure with each finger of the brush on the table surface for 2-3 seconds. We relax the muscles of the hand and forearm. Repeat 4-5 times.
- Hands on the surface of the table. Dilution and mixing fingers brush . Run 6-8 times.
- Starting position – The main stand, arms to the sides. Perform circular motions with the hands, the elbow does not lower and do not raise, do not take. Perform 10 rotations in each direction. (Clockwise and counterclockwise).
- Starting position – sitting on a chair . Take the weighting device (dumbbells) into the injured hand, lift it up, with your free hand, hold the sore arm by the elbow. Bend your arm at the elbow, moving it behind her head, touch the weight of the opposite shoulder. Return to starting position.