The ulnar nerve is a large nerve that runs through the elbow and down to the hand. It runs through an area called the cubital tunnel syndrome. When this nerve becomes inflamed, it can lead to pain or even numbness in the pinky and ring fingers. Over time, the muscles can degrade from improper use.
Ulnar nerve transposition moves the nerve so it is no longer pinched or inflamed. The result is a reduction in pain and numbness and an increase in mobility for the hand and elbow.
Pinching of the ulnar nerve can lead to numbness of the pinky and ring finger on the hand, particularly when the elbow is flexed. Over time, this condition can lead to nerve damage called neuropathy, which can degrade the muscles to a point that cannot be reversed. That is why this condition should be treated as soon as possible.
The first step is non-surgical treatments, such as bracing the elbow during sleep or typing to keep it supported while it’s bent. Patients may also be given anti-inflammatory medicines, including over-the-counter painkillers, to reduce inflammation on the nerve.
In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to move the ulnar nerve from behind the elbow to in front of it. This reduces the pressure and alleviates pain.
After surgery, patients can expect to be in a brace or sling for 2-4 weeks to keep the elbow immobile. After that, physical therapy is necessary to get full movement back. Patients usually undergo physical therapy for 3-4 months.