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What is Ulnar Neuritis?

  • The ulnar nerve is one of the three main nerves in the arm and can become entrapped at several places along the course. The most common place of injury is at the elbow and is called cubital tunnel syndrome or ulnar neuropathy at the elbow (UNE). Entrapment of the ulnar nerve at the elbow is the second most common entrapment neuropathy in the arm (Mondelli et al 2005; Caliandro et al 2012).

What are the symptoms?

  • Common symptoms include numbness and tingling in the hand and fingers. This can give the sensation that the little finger and half of the ring fingers are falling asleep. Injury can also cause aching on the inside of the elbow and weakening of the grip with difficulty with finger coordination.

What are the Treatment options?


  • In most cases, symptoms can be managed without surgery. A change in activities or bracing can often help resolve symptoms. Common recommendations include:

    • Avoiding activities that require you to bend the arm for prolonged periods of time

    • Avoid leaning on the elbow

    • Keeping the elbow straight when you are sleeping. This can be done with a brace that keeps the elbow straight.


  • Ultrasound guided peripheral nerve hydrodissection has been shown to be a less invasive alternative to surgery and has been shown to help with pain and improve nerve function on objective EMG testing. Learn more about hydrodissection procedures here.


  • If nonsurgical methods do not work or if the compression is causing muscle weakness or damage in your hand sometimes surgery is recommended. Surgery has varying rates of success, relapse, and complications.


  • Caliandro P, La Torre G, Padua R, Giannini F, Padua L. Treatment for ulnar neuropathy at the elbow. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Nov 15;11(11):CD006839. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006839.pub4. PMID: 27845501; PMCID: PMC6734129.
  • Mondelli M, Giannini F, Ballerini M, Ginanneschi F, Martorelli E. Incidence of ulnar neuropathy at the elbow in the province of Siena (Italy). J Neurol Sci. 2005 Jul 15;234(1-2):5-10. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2005.02.010. Epub 2005 Apr 20. PMID: 15993135.