Radial tunnel syndrome occurs due to a compressed nerve in the radial tunnel present in the forearm. This nerve controls most of our motor functions in the arm, like rotating the forearm, straightening the wrist, and stretching the fingers. These movements can become highly painful and difficult if you have radial tunnel syndrome.
Radial tunnel syndrome most commonly occurs in people between the ages of 30 and 50 years and women are more likely to develop this condition than men. Several factors can put individuals at risk, like radial nerve inflammation, swelling in the arm, ganglion cysts or lumps in the arm, an underactive thyroid gland, diabetes, failing to warm up for a strenuous activity, and poor wrist and arm flexibility.
This condition is quite rare and occurs in 0.003 percent of the population. Here are some signs and symptoms of radial tunnel syndrome you can look out for before going to a medical professional or for hand therapy:
Pain When Rotating Wrist
Try holding out your wrist and gently rotate in clockwise and counterclockwise motions. If you experience pain in this movement that worsens as you continue, this could be a sign of nerve compression in the radial tunnel.
Tenderness In The Outer Elbow
The radial nerve is present in the radial tunnel running through the forearm. Due to nerve compression, your elbow may feel tender and stretched. If you are experiencing pain in your wrist and elbow, this could be a sign of radial tunnel syndrome.
Loss Of Grip Strength
We use our forearm, wrist, and elbow to grip and lift things in our daily life. If you are experiencing a decreased grip ability, accompanied by pain and tenderness, this could be a symptom of RTS.
Weak Hand, Wrist, and Forearm
If you are experiencing a loss of strength in your arm, wrist movement, and grip, this could be an apparent symptom of this condition because nerve compression affects movement and lifting strength.
Difficulty In Extending Wrist
The nerve compression in the radial tunnel directly affects the wrist area. If you experience difficulty rotating and extending the wrist, this could be a symptom of RTS that can impede your daily tasks.
Radial tunnel syndrome is treated in a variety of ways, like resting the arm and wrist and avoiding movements that caused this condition in the first place. Your doctor might also recommend seeing an occupational therapist for hand therapy.
Radial tunnel syndrome can be painful and can get worse and harder to live with if left unchecked without treatment and healing. At Able Hands Rehabilitation, we provide occupational hand therapy, trigger finger therapy, finger fracture treatment, custom hand splinting, and much more in NJ. Get in touch with us to schedule an appointment or get more information about our therapists and services.