Radial Tunnel Syndrome is caused by increased pressure on the radial nerve as it travels from the upper arm (the brachial plexus) to the hand and wrist.
Some speculate that Radial Tunnel Syndrome is a type of repetitive strain injury (RSI), but there is no detectable pathophysiology and even the existence of this disorder is questioned
The “radial tunnel” is the region from the humeroradial joint past the proximal origin of the supinator muscle. Some scientists believe the radial tunnel extends as far as the distal border of the supinator. The radial nerve is commonly compressed within a 5 cm region near the elbow, but it can be compressed anywhere along the forearm if the syndrome is caused by injury (e.g. a fracture that puts pressure on the radial nerve). The radial nerve provides sensation to the skin of posterior arm, posterior and lateral forearm and wrist, and the joints of the elbow, wrist and hand. The nerve also provides sensory branches that travel to the periosteum of the lateral epicondyle, the anterior radio-humeral joint, and the annular ligament. It provides motor function through innervation to most ex-tensor muscles of the posterior arm and forearm. Therefore, it is extremely important in upper body extremity movement and can cause significant pain to patients presenting with radial tunnel syndrome. Unlike carpal tunnel syndrome, radial tunnel syndrome does not present tingling or numbness, since the posterior intercourse nerve mainly affects motor function.
Non-surgical treatment of radial tunnel syndrome includes rest, NSAID, therapy with modalities, work modification, ergonomic modification, injection if associated with lateral epicondylitis.