Dr Steve Carter

ORTHOPAEDIC SURGEON

Radial Tunnel Syndrome

What is radial tunnel syndrome?

Radial tunnel syndrome is a condition affecting the radial nerve of the arm that is characterised by a dull pain which often spreads the down to the wrist. It is caused by pressure on the radial nerve in the arm, which is encased by a tunnel of muscles and is usually spontaneous or the result of overuse.

Patients suffering from radial tunnel syndrome typically experience a deep-seated ache in the forearm or fatigue in their affected arm. There are no pins and needles associated with Radial Tunnel Syndrome, unlike Carpal Tunnel and Cubital tunnel syndrome, which are characterised by pins and needles in the fingers.

How is radial tunnel syndrometreated?

Radial tunnel syndrome can be painful and impact how a person uses their hands. In severe cases, the condition can prevent them from performing simple everyday physical tasks or engaging in sports and other hobbies. Treatment for the condition is vital to ensuring that pain is relieved.

Radial tunnel syndrome can be treated medically with anti-inflammatories and exercise, but in rare cases where this does not work, surgery may be needed. Dr Carter will first determine the seriousness of the condition before suggesting surgery.

During surgery, Dr Carter will split the muscles and tissue making up the radial tunnel to help relieve pressure on the radial nerve. This surgery can be performed under either local or general anaesthetic and is a same-day procedure. After the surgery, no splintage is needed. The patient starts active movement from day 1. They can Drive a car and type on a computer from day 3. A course of rehabilitative physiotherapy is recommended.