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Los Angeles Dodgers Pitcher Vincente Padilla to Undergo Elbow Surgery

Vincente Padilla of the Los Angeles Dodgers is undergoing surgery right elbow surgery on Thursday to release a nerve.  From reports, it is likely that his right ulnar nerve is trapped in the tissue around his elbow and forearm.  This is known as cubital tunnel syndrome.   The time table for his return has not been established.


The ulnar nerve is also known as the “funny bone.”  It runs on the inner aspect of the upper arm and elbow.  Around the elbow, it enters a tunnel-like structure, known as the “cubital tunnel”.  If you have ever banged your inner elbow on a table and felt tingling and numbness into your pinky finger, this is the ulnar nerve.


Cubital tunnel syndrome is caused by irritation and compression of the ulnar nerve. The ulnar nerve can be compressed from large/hypertrophied muscles, bone spurs, or masses.  It can be caused by flexing the elbow for long periods of time.  Constant pressure on the nerve can also cause cubital tunnel syndrome.


Cubital tunnel syndrome symptoms include: numbness and tingling along the path of the ulnar nerve (into the pinky and ring finger), pain in the inner elbow, and feeling like the hand or arm is “falling asleep.”


If you have pain or numbness into the pinky and ring fingers of your hand that does not go away, you should seek medical attention. An exam, xray, and possible nerve study and/or MRI may be needed.


Non surgical treatments include: braces to keep the elbow straight, rest, activity modification, and anti-inflammatories.  If this fails, surgery is needed.  The surgery decompresses the nerve, opening up the tunnel and cutting through any muscles and tissues that may press on the nerve.  In addition, the nerve may be moved into a new position, minimizing the likelihood for more irritation.


The long-term concern with this injury, if it heals without event, is a return to normal activities.


Most individuals with this injury can be out of competitive play for approximately 2 to 3 months.


To see an animation for “Cubital Tunnel Syndrome”, go to: http://footdronline.com/education.html. Then press the link for Orthopaedics à Elbow à Conditions à Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.

To see an animation for “Cubital Tunnel Release at the Elbow”, go to: http://footdronline.com/education.html. Then press the link for Orthopaedics à Elbow à Procedures  à Cubital Tunnel Release at the Elbow.

Dr. P

All material published through this blog/website is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information contained herein with other sources. Patients and consumers should review the information carefully with their professional health care provider. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians. Dr. Parekh and Duke University will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary, or other damages arising from the discussions in this blog. Learn more about Duke Orthopaedics at http://www.dukehealth.org/orthopaedics.

Selene Parekh, M.D.

Selene Parekh, M.D. (also known as the “Fantasy Doctor”) is an orthopaedic surgeon and foremost expert on sports injuries who’s fast becoming the go-to expert for the multibillion dollar fantasy sports industry.

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