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Cubital tunnel and carpal tunnel: How to recognize them

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2023 | Workers' Compensation

You can think of the nerves running through your body as the “wiring” system between your brain and various body parts. When everything is in working order, it’s great.

But what happens when something goes wrong? When nerves get pinched or damaged, it can be painful and limiting. Two common, but related, conditions are cubital tunnel syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome. They afflict all kinds of workers, from people who work on computers to factory workers.

What’s the difference between the two?

Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when the ulnar nerve gets compressed or irritated at the elbow. Its hallmarks include:

  • Inner elbow pain on the affected side
  • Tingling and numbness in the ring and little fingers
  • Weakened grip strength and difficulty holding objects

By comparison, carpal tunnel syndrome manifests a bit differently because it is the median nerve that’s affected. Sufferers usually experience:

  • Wrist and hand pain in one or both hands
  • Tingling and numbness in the thumb, index and middle fingers
  • Difficulty with fine motor skills due to weakened hand muscles

In both cases, the resulting disability can be significant. Treatment for both conditions usually starts conservatively, with rest, braces and splints. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are also used to reduce pain and inflammation, as are corticosteroid injections. Surgery and physical therapy may also be recommended.

It’s important to understand that cumulative injuries like these, when they’re caused by your work activity, are covered under workers’ compensation no less than the injuries suffered in a sudden accident. If you’re unable to work, find out more about your legal options.