Orthopaedics

Radial Tunnel Syndrome – Causes And Symptoms

Radial tunnel syndrome is also commonly known as resistant tennis elbow. An entrapment of the radial nerve within the forearm causes this. This resembles tennis elbow very closely but is much similar to Carpal tunnel syndrome.

The radial muscle operates several muscles present near our wrist and hand. When the nerve is compressed, it makes the nerve weakened causing pain. Due to continuous movement, the radial nerve gets swollen. The friction caused by the movement of the radial nerve through the muscles and bones of the elbow and the forearm is the major cause of this condition. This is also named as ‘double entrapment’.

The radial nerve passes through the tunnel present in the elbow. As it passes, sometimes, it gets pinched of or squeezed. This makes the radial nerve weak and causes pain.

What Is Radial Tunnel ?

The affected nerve starts from the side of the neck. The nerve leaves the spine here. The roots exit through small openings between the vertebrae, called the neural foramina. The roots of the nerve join together to form three new nerves. These nerves then travel down the arm. One of such nerve is the radial nerve. This nerve passes down the upper arm in the backside. Where it spirals outward and crosses the outside of the elbow. This is formed before the nerve winds its way down the forearm and hand. From the outside of the elbow, the radial nerve enters a tunnel. The tunnel is formed by the muscles and the bone and is called the radial tunnel.

What Causes Pain ?

The pressure on the radial nerve causes the pain. The radial nerve can get pinched at several spots along the radial tunnel. In case, the tunnel is too narrow and small, the nerve can get squeezed leading to pain. Repetitive, forceful pinching, pushing and pulling, gripping and bending of the wrist and elbow can also irritate the nerve. Direct blow on the outside of the elbow may also cause such condition.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms of Radial Tunnel Syndrome ?

  • Symptoms of pain or ache near elbow
  • Fatigued or weakened muscles of the forearm
  • Tenderness symptom near elbow
  • Pain and tenderness felt at outside of the elbow
  • Weakness symptoms of the hand
  • Pain getting worsened when bending the wrist backward
  • Pain getting more intense when turning the palm upward
  • Painful gripping with a stiff wrist or straightened elbow

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