Cubital tunnel syndrome affects the ulnar nerve on its way through your elbow. As a result, you feel pain in your elbow and a pin-and-needles feeling in your pinky and ring finger. Read on to learn how to sit at a desk with cubital tunnel syndrome.
What is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
Cubital tunnel syndrome, also referred to as ulnar nerve entrapment, is a condition where the ulnar nerve gets compressed in the cubital tunnel. The ulnar nerve descends the upper arm, passing through the cubital tunnel in the elbow on its way to the pinky and ring finger.
However, sometimes the cubital tunnel narrows, compressing the ulnar. As a result, you might feel discomfort at the elbow and a tingly sensation in the affected fingers.
Symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome include:
- Tingly sensation in the ring and little finger
- Numbness spreading through the affected fingers
- Pain at the elbow
- Weakened hand grip as the condition progresses
- Difficulty manipulating small objects with the affected hand
- Visible muscle loss in severe cases of cubital tunnel syndrome
In many instances, these symptoms become worse when you lean on your elbow. This is because you actively irritate the nerve when you put pressure on the affected elbow.
So, individuals whose jobs or daily routines involve leaning against the elbow may be more likely to develop the condition. For example, people who work in offices often lean their elbows against the desk or chair armrests.
Breaking this habit makes cubital tunnel syndrome heal more quickly and can be a great preventative measure.
How to Sit at a Desk With Cubital Tunnel
Consistently applying pressure onto your elbows can cause inflammation that narrows the cubital tunnel. As a result, you might experience some of the symptoms discussed earlier.
One of the most common ways you apply pressure to your elbows is when you lean against the armrests with your elbows when sitting at a desk. Therefore, you need to remove your elbows from the surface to prevent the development of cubital tunnel syndrome.
Here is how to sit at a desk with cubital tunnel syndrome:
- First, get an ergonomic chair: The first step to protecting your elbows is to ensure a good posture when sitting at your desk. You can achieve this by using an ergonomic chair which ensures that your knees and elbows are bent at the ideal comfortable angle. Furthermore, this type of chair ensures that your back maintains a curve at the bottom – the recommended posture when sitting upright at a desk.
- Adjust chair height: When your chair is lower than your desk, you’ll bend your elbows at a sharper angle when typing. As a result, you need your elbows straighter to prevent cubital tunnel syndrome. Therefore, adjusting your chair height is advisable to ensure that your elbows aren’t overly bent when typing.
- Avoid resting elbows on armrests: Resting elbows on armrests increases inflammation of tendons in the elbow, compressing the ulnar nerve. As such, you should let your elbow relax by your side when working at a desk.
Try moving your keyboard closer to prevent resting on your elbows. On the other hand, you can place cushions on the armrests to avoid compressing the cubital tunnel when you lean on your elbows.
- Use a hands-free headset: Using a phone at a desk involves bending your elbow for a long time. Instead, you should use a hands-free headset to prevent bending your arm when on a call.
Treating Cubital Tunnel Syndrome At Harley Clinic
Untreated, cubital tunnel syndrome can significantly limit how you use your hand. If you’re concerned about how to sit at a desk with cubital tunnel syndrome or would like to discuss your treatment options, book a consultation with a hand specialist at The Harley Clinic.