What is Cell Phone Elbow Syndrome ?

Cell phone elbow syndrome shows that we are absolutely in wired era with the increased use of cell phones. Cell Phone Elbow is medically known as Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. The is caused due to the increased use and availability of cell phones. With prolonged cellular telephone use, cell phone users may notice the numbness, aching, burning, or tingling in the ulnar forearm and hand.

Sometimes Cell phone users can’t lift up their arms. Those who suffer this often use their mobile phones too much. Cell phone users bend their arms while talking on the telephone so the nerves on the arm overstretch. Switching hands frequently while talking on the phone or using a hands-free headset can help.

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Cause of Cell phone elbow

Cubital tunnel syndrome is caused by compression (like carpal tunnel syndrome) of the ulnar nerve as it traverses the posterior elbow, wrapping around the medial condyle of the humerus. This is the area often called the “funny bone” when it gets hit.

When people hold their elbow flexed for a prolonged period, such as when speaking on the phone or sleeping at night, the ulnar nerve is placed in tension. Leaning on an elbow while driving or working, and sitting at a computer workstation that requires elbow flexion greater than 90 degrees. may cause cubital tunnel syndrome. Making ergonomic adjustments to these activities is beneficial.

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When the elbow is bent, the nerve may be stretched and push against the bony bump(above pic).

Most people with Cubital tunnel syndrome problem have a habit of sleeping with either their elbows bent, their arms up by their head, or both.

Cell phone elbow Problem

Affected patients with cubital tunnel syndrome often experience numbness and tingling along the little finger and ulnar half of the ring finger, usually accompanied by weakness of grip. This frequently occurs when the patient rests upon or flexes the elbow.

Treatment

Treatment can involve conservative splinting and use of anti-inflammatory medications. When those fail, the the nerve may have to be released surgically.

References

Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, What is cell phone elbow, and what should we tell our patients?. Image courtesy of Ulnar Nerve Neuritis / Cubital Tunnel Syndrome and eatonhand.

2 thoughts on “What is Cell Phone Elbow Syndrome ?”

  1. Cell phone elbow is also known as “cellbow” or its official name, cubital tunnel syndrome (CuTS).

    CuTS is a repetitive stress injury (RSI) that can result in moderate to severe pain and numbness in the elbow and ring & little fingers. Untreated, CuTS can result in extreme pain, surgery or an unusable hand.

    The problem occurs where the ulnar nerve passes around the elbow. The nerve rests in a groove called the cubital tunnel tucked behind the bony point on the elbow. Repeated stretching or hitting this nerve results in numbness, shocks and pain, similar to what you feel when you hit your “funny bone.”

    The ulnar nerve can be stretched and irritated by talking on a cellphone frequently or for long periods. If you cannot reduce your cell phone use, the next best solution is to buy an earpiece that allows you to talk on your phone hands-free.

    If any of your readers are afflicted with cellbow, they may wish to visit our Cubital-Tunnel.com forums where they can share their experiences, ask questions and get answers about their condition.

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