Five patients with cubitus varus deformities from malunited childhood fractures had dislocation (snapping) of both the medial portion of the triceps and the ulnar nerve over the medial epicondyle. In addition to snapping, these patients had medial elbow pain or ulnar nerve symptoms. Cubitus varus shifts the line of pull of the triceps more medial, which can cause anteromedial displacement of the medial portion of the triceps during elbow flexion. The ulnar nerve is concomitantly pushed or pulled anteromedially by the triceps, and ulnar neuropathy may result from friction neuritis or from dynamic compression by the triceps against the epicondyle. Recognition of both the dislocating ulnar nerve and the snapping medial triceps is crucial in the successful treatment of this pathologic finding. In symptomatic individuals, we recommend either corrective valgus osteotomy of the distal humerus or partial excision or lateral transposition of the snapping medial triceps, or a combination of both. Alternatively, medial epicondylectomy can also eliminate the snapping. Transposition of the ulnar nerve can be performed for ulnar nerve symptoms and/or ulnar nerve instability. Using this approach, correction of the snapping and/or ulnar nerve symptoms was achieved in all cases.
- Ulnar nerve
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine