Cubital Tunnel Release

By Diana Cratem, CHT/OT

What is Cubital Tunnel Release?

By: Diana Cratem, CHT/OT

Cubital Tunnel Release is a surgical procedure performed to alleviate pressure/irritation of the ulnar nerve as it travels through the elbow. Often times patients experience irritation of this nerve. This is due to entrapment or repetitive stretching. Anatomically the ulnar nerve travels down the upper arm, wraps around the medial part of the elbow and enters the forearm. Due to little padding in the elbow area, the nerve often times gets compressed and/or stretched. This causes irritation. Problems can arise from a one time trauma to the elbow or from repetitive stretching of the nerve over time.

Cubital tunnel syndrome may result in numbness or muscle loss.

Cubital tunnel syndrome, inflamed ulnar nerve image.

The nerve irritation can lead to sensations of numbness or tingling in the arm or hand. Often it results in pain. The identification of Cubital tunnel problems are by an orthopedic doctor during an office examination. Sometimes nerve conduction tests are performed to quantify how much nerve compression is involved.


Treatment to protect the nerve initially may involve the use of a pad to the elbow. This treatment is to avoid full elbow flexion with daily activities.

Sometimes there is a requirement of surgery to the cubital tunnel to relieve the pressure on the nerve. This surgery is a Cubital Tunnel Release. Sometimes the nerve is moved or repositioned to a more protected area of the elbow to avoid continued irritation of the nerve.

A simple Cubital Tunnel Release consists of incising the cubital tunnel at the elbow. This eliminates the restriction or pressure that was irritating the nerve. As a result, recovery from this procedure usually includes:

  • edema control
  • range of motion exercises
  • eventually strengthening of the muscles in elbow, wrist and hand

JOI Rehab

If your injury does require physical therapy or surgery, our JOI team has the expertise and technological advances to get you back to your ideal level of function. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at JOI Rehab for physical therapy, call (904) 858-7045. Come see us!


All JOI Physicians, Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists now offer Telemedicine services for virtual visits from the convenience of your home. Furthermore, if you feel that it is best to stay in your own home during this time, we can still provide orthopaedic Telehealth services for you. Through the download of the free Zoom app on the your phone, tablet or laptop. Also, our physicians and Telehealth for Physical Therapy can evaluate you and provide the care you need.

JOI Fracture and Injury Care

JOI Physicians are currently offering ASAP Fracture care. Make an appointment by calling (904)JOI-2000. This is a new option for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room if they have suffered a fracture or soft tissue injury. Also, to learn more about this service, read this article about fracture and injury care.

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