I am 20 years old and currently a college junior at CNU. I am very active. I exercise daily with Crossfit, volleyball and the occasional 6 mile jog. I had to keep up with exercise when I came to college because of my background with being an athlete. I was a junior Olympic gymnast for 12 years. My last year, I suffered an arm injury, around the elbow area, that ended my gymnastics for good. I was told by many doctors that I had torn my UCL and needed Tommy John surgery, which I later found out to be a false diagnosis. So I did physical therapy for about 4 months and I noticed some differences, but not many. Without doing gymnastics, I just blew off the injury for the next 6 years (not kidding).
When I came to college, I wanted to be athletic, so I jumped right into intramurals and club teams. I didn’t start to notice my arm flaring up again until about one year ago, and each day, it became more of a burden. This past summer (2014), I didn’t pay much attention to it. My summer job uses a lot of strength, so I didn’t think twice about seeing a doctor about it. However, what really changed my mind about that was when my fall semester started and my elbow hurt with simple activities. I couldn’t brush my teeth, brush my hair, wash my hair or even put weight on it to turn over in bed at night.
So, I did research and went to OSC. I started out with tests to figure out why my arm was hurting. It obviously wasn’t a UCL injury. I had an MRI which confirmed that, but I also had an EMG to detect possible nerve damage which was also negative. Dr. Haynes wasn’t convinced, though. He explained to me that my ulnar nerve was trapped, and every time my arm was bent or over-extended, my nerve would get irritated. He wanted to go through with Cubital Tunnel Endoscopic Release. I have had friends that had the older procedure done which they called Ulnar Nerve Transposition. The endoscopic procedure, however, is minimally-invasive, which is good for an active person such as myself.
The procedure took about 45 minutes if I remember correctly. I went on YouTube beforehand and saw a procedure, which was neat! My arm was wrapped in an ace bandage for 2 days and the pain was minimal. Tylenol was all I needed when my arm was uncomfortable; I took one pain pill just because I didn\’t have Tylenol. Coming from a person who never takes any type of medicine, I think I took Tylenol once the night after my procedure to help me sleep. I kept it elevated on pillows with ice the day of the surgery and the next day so my swelling would be minimal (and it was). I had full movement of my arm with a few limitations of bending. After 2 days, I took the dressing off and could wash my wound with soap and water; even then, I had no pain except for a little sensitivity. I mostly had itching from healing. After about 10 days, i took the steri-strips off to see a scar forming that was only about 2 cm long. 2 CENTIMETERS! I could bend my arm comfortably. I did have bruising for about 2 weeks, but nothing major.
This procedure was amazing. I have no complaints and no pain with exercising or even daily activities at all. Dr. Haynes is such a delightful doctor, as well. His personality made me completely comfortable and eager to go through with the surgery! He called the night after my surgery and the day after to see how I was doing and if I had any questions. My anesthesiologist and nurse did the same, which I think is really thoughtful and heartwarming, and even a deal breaker when looking for great medical personnel!