Southern California Workers’ Compensation Blog

Office work and cubital tunnel syndrome

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2022 | Workers Compensation

Who says office work isn’t hazardous? Even though you aren’t working on a factory line, your arms and wrists and hands get quite a workout on the keyboard of your computer every day.

Lately, you’ve noticed an unusual pain when you put your elbows on your desk, and you’ve had trouble gripping your pen and your coffee cup when you pick them up. There’s even some numbness in the last two fingers of your dominant hand.

What’s going on? Your doctor says it’s something called cubital tunnel syndrome, and this very well may be a work injury.

What’s cubital tunnel syndrome?

The ulnar nerve travels past your elbow and under the muscles in your forearm and into your hand. It’s the exact nerve that you feel if you’ve ever bumped your “funny bone” and experienced an excruciating pulse of pain shoot up your arm.

That nerve can actually get compressed or damaged simply by resting your elbows on your desk on a regular basis, which is something that many office workers don’t even realize is a hazard. It’s similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in the way that it affects your hands and ability to function, except that different nerves are involved. (Carpal tunnel is felt in your thumb and first two fingers of the affected hand, instead of the last two fingers.)

Some people are more vulnerable than others to cubital tunnel syndrome, particularly if they have arthritis, bone spurs and a history of elbow fractures or dislocations.

If you’re an office worker with cubital tunnel syndrome, make no mistake: You may need physical therapy, medication and time off work to heal. Find out more about your right to workers’ compensation for injuries like this, and get legal assistance if you encounter resistance to your claim.