Radial Tunnel Syndrome

This is an uncommon condition that is often misdiagnosed as tennis elbow. Patients often grumble on for months prior to seeing a hand specialist and then making the diagnosis.

It is the most common entrapment neuropathy of the radial nerve, and results in pain, usually well localized and distal to the area where tennis elbow is seen. Weakness is usually not a feature. The nerve is typically compressed at one of 5 sites over an area of 6-8cm long.

There is no absolute sign or test that makes the diagnosis It is a combination of a typical history and directed clinical tests at consultation that clinches it.

  • Management


Non-operative management is avoiding of the activities that reproduce the pain, a wrist splint and anti-inflammatories. It is reasonable to attempt these first but most patients go on to require surgery


Operative management is surgical release of the compression sites through a skin incision about 6-8cm long. Postoperatively the arm is dressed in a simple bandage and patients may begin to use their hand and wrist immediately as pain allows. Expected recovery from the localizing pain may be immediate or improve over the coming weeks, depending on the degree of compression. Up to 93% of patients experience relief from the surgery.

Conditions Managed

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