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    Saturday, August 15, 2009


    You’ve heard of tennis elbow? Now Neurologists and orthopedists have encountered Cell Phone Elbow under its more common medical name, Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. Patients often present with a tingling in the pinky finger, along with pain, numbness or loss of strength in the hand.

    It has the same abbreviation (CTS) as its better-known cousin, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which also arises from similar overuse of an extremity This particular variant of CTS occurs when people spend too much time holding their cell phones to their ears, which requires bending the elbow for extended periods. With an estimated 200 million cell phones in the U.S., many with unlimited rollover minutes – not to mention billions of phones around the world – this could turn into a serious problem.
    Technically Cubital tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the ulnar nerve as it traverses the posterior elbow, wrapping around the medial condyle of the humerus. 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.Additionally, flexion of the elbow narrows the space available for the nerve and can cause a sevenfold to 20-fold increase in the pressure within the cubital tunnel, depending on muscle contraction. This can be compounded by compression on the nerve, either from various fascial bands surrounding the nerve or from extrinsic sources of compression, such as leaning on one’s elbow while driving or talking.
    "This increased pressure on the nerve leads to decreased blood flow and nerve ischemia; this in turn causes increased permeability of the epineurial vessels and nerve edema, enlarging the nerve and continuing the cycle."

    The most serious cases of Cell Phone Elbow may require surgery, typically an ulnar nerve transposition or medial epicondylectomy. A brace that immobilizes or restricts the elbow may also help those who exacerbate the problem by sleeping with their arms bent at night.
    The best solution is prevention--- a headset -- almost every phone has a jack for a wired model, but if the patient is a techno-junkie, he or she will probably insist on a wireless version. Use of a headset will also forestall a traffic ticket in a state that requires hands-free cell phone operation in a car.

    Please remember, as with all our articles we provide information, not medical advice.
    For any treatment of your own medical condition you must visit your local doctor, with or without our article[s]. These articles are not to be taken as individual medical advice.

    *Tune in tomorrow for Cellphone Shields and Brain Cancer?

    Deepen your understanding of "medical malpractice"...

    For more health info and links visit the author's web site

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