The elbow flexion test. A clinical test for the cubital tunnel syndrome

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1988 Aug;(233):213-6.


The elbow flexion test is a little known, inadequately standardized, and poorly understood clinical test for the cubital tunnel syndrome. To evaluate and define this test, 13 patients with clinical and electrophysiologic evidence of cubital tunnel syndrome were tested with elbow flexion in a standardized manner. This consisted of full elbow flexion with full extension of the wrists for three minutes. All patients noted the onset of or the increase in one or more of the symptoms of pain, numbness, or tingling with this test. Numbness and tingling followed the sensory distribution of the ulnar nerve, but pain was not limited to the ulnar nerve distribution. The symptom complex, rapid onset, and rapid resolution of symptoms support a locally induced segmental ulnar nerve ischemia as the cause of symptoms. This study demonstrates the elbow flexion test to be a useful, reliable, and provocative test for the cubital tunnel syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Elbow Joint / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Paresthesia / etiology
  • Ulnar Nerve*