Montgomery Personal Injury Attorney
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Car and trucking wreck most frequently cause soft tissue injuries to the neck and back. An injury we also encounter with high impact car accidents in Alabama is cubital tunnel syndrome. An Alabama personal injury attorney can help you if you suffer from cubital tunnel syndrome that was caused by the negligence of another.
A passenger or driver involved in a violent car accident might have a stiff and sore neck for weeks or months but this type off injury rarely keeps someone from doing their job. Over a course of several months following such an accident and after bruising to the elbow or elbows fade, some clients will wake up at night with numbness and tingling in the ring and little finger of left or right hand, commenting that it felt like "I had hit my funny-bone." After more time goes by, these clients begin to experience some other problems like having difficulty grasping some tools or objects firmly and would drop small objects. With the passage of time, finger movements and the numbness and tingling become more persistent.
After visiting an orthopedic surgeon, the diagnosis if often one of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. From the anatomy, it is clear that disruption of the ulnar nerve above the elbow would result in paralysis of the muscles supplied by it below that level.
Complete division of the ulnar nerve at the wrist usually causes paralysis of the lumbricals to the little and ring fingers, all of the interossei, the adductor of the thumb and the hypothenar muscles. There is potential for entrapment of the ulnar nerve in the cubital tunnel (due to external pressure on and internal tension in the nerve) with normal elbow flexion. Anything that further contributes to pressure on or tension in the nerve-such as the nerve being swollen and inflamed, additional external pressure from various sources, an old injury with scarring that tethers the nerve, bony abnormalities-can cause sensory and motor changes in the hand that manifest as Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.
Anything that contributes to additional pressure on or tension in the ulnar nerve as it passes through the cubital tunnel can cause Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. Sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem but some specific causes might include:
- Direct injury in the region of the elbow-such as a fracture, dislocation or severe contusion
- Sudden forceful flexion of the elbow as might occur while holding the steering wheel in a rear end collision
- Pressure on the nerve while performing certain jobs that require repetitive or continuous elbow flexion-such as typing, computer data entry or assembly line work
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, like carpal tunnel syndrome, is more commonly found in patients with arthritis, diabetes and thyroid problems than in the general population.
Classically, Cubital Tunnel Syndrome presents with symptoms suggestive of varying degrees of ulnar nerve compression at the elbow-the earliest and most notable is a sensation of having hit the "funny bone" causing a tingling sensation in the small and ring fmgers. This is often more acutely evident when the elbow is bent, such as in the following situations:
- Holding a telephone
- Using a computer for long periods of time
- Resting on the elbows
- Crossing the arms over the chest
In contract to Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome indicates the numbness and tingling affects the thumb, index and middle finger, while the motor effect is on the thenar eminence because carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve, not the ulnar nerve.
Cervical disc herniations at C7-T1, causing compression of the C8 nerve root, may present with numbness and tingling along the ulnar border of the forearm and in the ring and little finger. This would also result in weakness of the finger flexors, but no reflex changes. A C8 radiculopathy would not likely affect the interosseous muscles. These muscles would more likely be affected by a disc compressing the T1 nerve root at Tl-T2.
Electrodiagnostic testing is helpful in differentiating symptoms that might mimic ulnar nerve compression, such as cervical radiculopathy.
If you've suffered an injury in an accident, the legal team at McAleer Law can assist you with your case. Contact an
Alabama Car Accident Attorney
today for aggressive legal representation.