Massachusetts Workplace Injury Attorneys
The Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates have almost 30-year track record of successfully representing individuals injured in the course of employment. After decades of dedication to disabled workers, we are well versed in the process of establishing valid claims for compensation due to a variety of workplace-related medical conditions, including cubital tunnel syndrome. Our Boston firm is proud to serve clients throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.
Ulnar Nerve Entrapment
Cubital tunnel syndrome, or ulnar neuropathy, describes the compression of the arm’s main nerve at the elbow. The ulnar nerve travels through the cubital tunnel at the inside of the elbow. Hitting the nerve running under the “funny” bone causes a shock-like numbness. Lacking soft-tissue protection, the ulnar nerve must snake through a very narrow tunnel, where it can become trapped. Compression of the nerve at the elbow can affect the parts of the upper body along its path, from the clavicle, along the entire arm, and the pinky-finger side of the palm.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Causes
Over 20 percent of workplace injuries involve the upper extremities, including the elbow joint. Conditions like cubital tunnel syndrome are often caused or exacerbated by work due to various job stresses that compress the ulnar nerve. Job-related causes may include:
- Direct blow to elbow
- Bone spurs or arthritis
- Frequent computer use
- Repetitive elbow bending
- Prior fracture or dislocation
- Cyst, swelling, or fluid buildup
- Resting elbow on armrest, desk
- Driving position, holding phone
- Long periods of leaning on elbow
- Prolonged period in fixed position
Most workers require upper body strength to lift heavy objects or lean on hard surfaces while at a desk. Repetitive bending and straightening of the elbow increase the risk of cubital tunnel syndrome, especially when a twisting motion damages fragile ligaments in the joint.
Recognizing Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Workers often ignore symptoms of injury, choosing to work through discomfort. But sustained compression of the ulnar nerve only leads to more serious disability and time off work. It is therefore important to recognize symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome, which may include:
- Weakened hand grip
- Joint pain, numbness
- Muscle atrophy in hand
- “Claw” hand or deformity
- Loss of finger coordination
- Aching pain inside of elbow
- Tingling in ring, little fingers
- Weak fingers near outside palm
- Inability to touch thumb to pinky
Unfortunately, the only natural way to relieve symptoms is to avoid work activities that exacerbate the condition. But some jobs require keeping the elbows bent for long periods of time or leaning the elbow on hard surfaces. Symptoms that become worse require medical attention.