Do you suffer from muscle weakness, tingling, numbness, or pain in the hand? If so, you may have a condition involving nerve compression.

The big question is… which nerve is it?

There are 3 nerves that give sensation to the hand:

Radial tunnel syndrome is a nerve related condition involving pain and weakness in the elbow and wrist muscles. Unlike carpal tunnel syndrome (median nerve) and cubital tunnel syndrome (ulnar nerve), tingling and numbness in the hand is unlikely to occur. The typical cause of radial nerve irritation is compression via muscles.

It is commonly found in individuals who do a lot of repetitive work involving gripping, pinching, bending and twisting motions of the wrist. This can lead to irritation of the radial nerve at the elbow resulting in pain and muscle weakness.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Decreased grip and wrist strength
  • Pain in the arm

While the elbow is the common site of irritation for the nerve, there are other possible locations that can be causing the symptoms to occur. Because the radial nerve originates from the neck, there are many potential sites for compression before it reaches the hand – the neck, shoulder, elbow, and wrist. Consequently, each area needs to be ruled out or dealt with in order to fully resolve the symptoms.

At Movement Performance Centre, our physiotherapists are trained to help resolve your radial tunnel symptoms by assessing and treating each potential site of compression to ensure that the nerve is able to function optimally. Depending on the root cause of the radial nerve compression, different strategies will be employed to resolve the issue. Possible treatments may include:

  • Stretching and Soft Tissue Release
  • Increasing mobility of the spine
  • Strengthening of the neck, shoulder, elbow, or wrist muscles.
  • Identifying and treating factors affecting but are external to the affected arm

If you have any questions or need treatment, give us a call to see how we can get you moving back to normal life.

Author: Zachary Hum MScPT BAKin