Indications

Elbow Flexion test is an elbow examination procedure to test for cubital tunnel syndrome.  The cubital tunnel is a major passageway for the ulnar nerve as it passes behind the elbow. Injury and trauma are main reasons for cubital tunnel syndrome and symptoms of numbness and tingling over the area may only appear after several years.

Procedure

Patient should be awake and cooperative for the Elbow Flexion test.

  1. Patient should be seated with the elbow fully flexed.
  2. The examiner tells the patient to remain in the position up to three minutes.
  3. The examiner examines the patient during the three-minute hold. He may apply pressure gently to increase flexion of the elbow.

Patient holds her flexed elbow for three minutes.

Interpretation

Positive Elbow Flexion Test

A positive Elbow Flexion Test is when the patient complains of numbness, tingling or paresthesia along the ulnar nerve distribution. This sign could indicate the presence of cubital tunnel syndrome.

Clinical Notes

The Elbow Flexion Test may also produce symptoms that are present in carpal tunnel syndrome because the median nerve pass through the pronator teres. The examiner has to complete the test for full three minutes since clinical symptoms usually appear within a minute.