What do we mean by Radial Tunnel Syndrome? What are its potential causes, symptoms and treatment options?
Most of the athletes visit physical therapists for their lateral elbow pain. Physical therapists are of the view that Radial Tunnel Syndrome (RTS) occurs due to swelling or irritation of radial nerve because of the friction caused due to compression by muscles.
What do you mean by Radial Tunnel Syndrome?
Radial Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the radial nerve gets compressed where it passes through a tunnel near the elbow. This compression happens in proximal forearm where the radial nerve splits into PIN (main trunk) and sensory branch (minor trunk).
What are the causes of Radial Tunnel Syndrome (RTS)?
Pain of Radial Tunnel Syndrome occurs due to the pressure on radial nerve. Other causes of Radial Tunnel Syndrome include:
- Bone Tumors
- Inflammation/Swelling of surrounding tissues
- Non-cancerous fatty-tumors
- Too Small tunnel
- Repetitive bending, gripping and pinching of wrist
- Direct blow to the outside of elbow
- Continuous twisting of arm
What are the potential symptoms of Radial Tunnel Syndrome (RTS)?
The symptoms of Radial Tunnel Syndrome start getting worse when you bend your wrist backward or hold an object with a stiff wrist. Following are the symptoms of Radial Tunnel Syndrome:
- Tenderness and pain on the outside of elbow
- Pain in the forearm and hand during activity
- Minimized grip and forearm strength
- Pain that worsens while rotating wrist
- Cutting and stabbing pain at top of the forearm or at the back of hand, when you straighten your fingers
- Numbness and tingling down the forearm
How can Physical Therapy be helpful to treat Radial Tunnel Syndrome (RTS)?
Fore mostly, the physical therapist will advise you to avoid the repetitive activities which involve your wrists. If Radial Tunnel Syndrome is caused due to your work site conditions, your work site conditions would be modified. Apart from these, following therapeutic techniques would be administered to treat the condition:
- Stretching and strengthening exercises would be administered to reduce pain
- Cold and heat therapies would be practiced
- Range of motion exercises would be administered to restore tissue flexibility and normal functioning of the joints
- You would be advised to wear night-splint to limit your elbow movements at night
- Soft –tissue massage would be used to promote blood circulation
- Modalities like ultrasound, moist heat and electrical stimulation may also be used
- Spinal manual therapy may be used to improve neural mobility
- Ergonomic interventions like; load management, postural awareness and workstation modification are used
- Functional strengthening exercises are used to treat Radial Tunnel Syndrome
Contact Active Physical Therapy for the state-of-art treatment of your overuse injuries. Our certified and skilled physical therapists are always ready to help you with customized treatment plans as per your needs and requirements.