Phone: 973-940-3166
Fax: 973-940-3170
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Carpal vs. Cubital Release Surgery


Cubital tunnel syndrome is far less known than carpal tunnel syndrome even though they are very similar conditions. Both conditions are a form of nerve damage or irritation. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve in the wrist is pinched or damage, and cubital tunnel syndrome is when the ulnar nerve in the elbow is irritated. People often wonder how to tell which nerve is damaged. An easy trick is to follow the numbness. The median nerve will cause numbness in the thumb, pointer, middle finger, and wrist while the ulnar nerve causes tingling in the forearm, pinky, and ring finger.


Both cubital and carpal tunnel syndromes are associated with tingling and numbness. Patients may feel like their arms and hands are weak and that they can’t squeeze their hands as tightly. In cubital tunnel syndrome, symptoms may feel better when the arm is straight, and worse when leaning on the elbow. Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms may feel better when resting or icing the wrist and worse when extending the fingers.


The two conditions are both caused in part by lifestyle. This means that the little things you do throughout your day and the choices you make can lead to nerve damage or entrapment.

For example, cubital tunnel syndrome is caused by excessively leaning on your elbows. This is because the ulnar nerve is located near the funny bone. Another common way to irritate the nerve is to sleep with your hands under your pillow. Prolonged elbow bending puts pressure on the nerve and could result in cubital tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by anything that strains the wrist – including typing for long periods of time! However, since this condition is more well-known than cubital tunnel syndrome, we know that it can also be caused by the bones inside your wrist. If the bones are out of place or grew back incorrectly after injury, they may be pinching the median nerve.


Carpal and cubital tunnel syndromes are treated very similarly. The patient first tries conservative treatment. Physicians may prescribe medication to reduce any inflammation that may be trapping the nerves, or they may see if symptoms subside after resting the elbow and wrist. However, if those methods do not reduce numbness or weakness, Specialty Surgical Center is here to help. We have two talented hand surgeons on staff that can perform carpal tunnel release surgery, a minimally invasive technique to help free the median nerve from being pinched. They can use this method to perform nerve repair if necessary.

Specialty Surgical Center is located in Sparta, New Jersey and our staff consists of board certified surgeons and anesthesiologists performing procedures in Orthopedics, Sports Medicine, Spinal Care, Podiatry, Urology, Pain Management, ENT, Hand Surgery, Lithotripsy, Brachytherapy, GYN and Laser Surgery.

For more information about Specialty Surgical Center, call 973-940-3166 or visit our Contact Page.