Radial Tunnel Syndrome

Radial tunnel syndrome is an entrapment of the radial nerve.  This condition is thought to be a compression injury to the radial nerve near the elbow.  The condition is often confused with tennis elbow.  The radial nerve travels through an open space surrounded by muscle and bone, (called the radial tunnel) along the outer side of the elbow and then to the hand.  Radial tunnel syndrome occurs when muscles of the forearm compress the radial tunnel, pinching the radial nerve at one or more points.  This is typically caused by repetitive motion, such as pushing or pulling, twisting, gripping with the hand or bending the wrist.  This can also be caused by injury to the elbow.


Radial tunnel syndrome causes pain along the outer side of the arm, about two inches below the elbow.  The pain worsens when the arm is used.  Weakness of the wrist and the hand can also occur. 


Treatment options include rest, immobilisation with a splint and anti-inflammatory medications.  In severe cases, or when symptoms are not relieved, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the nerves.