What is Radial Tunnel Syndrome?
The radial nerve controls many different arm movements, from rotating the forearm to extending the elbow, wrist, and finger movements. The nerve is one of three in the forearm that travel from the side of the neck, down the back of the arm, through the forearm, and into the hands. This specific nerve is called the “radial tunnel” nerve due to it passing through the radial tunnel, a collection of muscles in the elbow.
Radial tunnel syndrome occurs when this specific nerve is compressed or pinched as it enters the radial tunnel in the elbow, creating excessive pressure which causes pain.
The syndrome is rare but is most common in adults between the ages of thirty and fifty years old, and certain factors can put someone at greater risk for developing it:
- Not warming up adequately before playing sports
- An underactive thyroid gland
- Tumors or ganglion cysts in the arm
- Radial nerve inflammation
- Poor arm and wrist strength, and flexibility