Carpal Tunnel Syndrome vs Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

2022_01_ Carpal Tunnel vs. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome _390822_Blog

Carpal tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome are both nerve conditions that affect the arms, hands, and wrists.  Despite their similar names and cause (nerve irritation or compression), these injuries are not the same. Learn how to distinguish these two injuries and what treatments are available in today’s blog.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome vs Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome and Cubital tunnel syndrome are both known to cause wrist pain, weakness, numbness, and loss of function in the hands and fingers. These injuries can limit your mobility and keep you from doing even simple activities like driving, typing, or holding a toothbrush.

Treating these conditions conservatively can be difficult without knowing which condition you’re dealing with. The location of the injury, presentation of symptoms, and ideal treatment methods depend on the diagnosis. Receiving a proper diagnosis is key to finding the right treatment for your condition.

Airrosti providers can help you understand your condition and develop a customized treatment plan tailored to your needs. Chat with a provider today to see if Airrosti is right for you.

Location of Injury

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel, located at the base of the wrist.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Illustration

Cubital tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the ulnar nerve at the base of the elbow.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Illustration


While both injuries can cause arm, hand, and wrist pain, symptoms can affect different areas depending on which nerve is compressed.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The median nerve branches from the wrist into the thumb, index, middle, and part of the ring finger. If that nerve is compressed at the base of the wrist, symptoms are more likely to affect the wrist and first three fingers of the hand. Symptoms often appear as numbness, tingling, wrist pain, and hand or grip weakness.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. The ulnar nerve travels down the arm and into the hand, branching into the ring and little finger. If the ulnar nerve becomes trapped at the elbow, signs of numbness, weakness, and tingling may be present in these two fingers. Pain is often present in the elbow and symptoms may worsen when the elbow is bent.

Treatment Options

Resting the arm is the most often recommended treatment for both injuries. Anti-inflammatory medications or injections can also help relieve pain. These treatments might help for a while, but they don’t address the underlying cause of injury.

In severe cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to relieve pressure on the affected nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually addressed with Endoscopic surgery or carpal tunnel release surgery. Cubital tunnel syndrome might be treated with cubital tunnel release. Surgery is often a last resort because of the risk of complications and extended recovery time.

Relieve Wrist Pain with Airrosti

Wrist injuries can restrict your mobility and keep you from doing the activities you love. Most treatment options for these injuries can be ineffective or inaccessible.

If you’re struggling from wrist pain and can’t seem to find relief, contact an Airrosti provider today.

We treat many common injuries, including wrist pain, and can typically resolve most cases within 3.2 visits (based on patient-reported outcomes). Our providers are dedicated to finding and fixing pain at the source for lasting relief. We also work with you to find tools and resources that will help you continue to live pain free.

Contact Airrosti and start your recovery today. We offer both in-office and virtual appointments through Airrosti Remote Recovery.

Read our Medical Disclaimer here.

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