Radial nerve dysfunction

Alternative Names

Neuropathy – radial nerve; Radial nerve palsy; Mononeuropathy

Definition of Radial nerve dysfunction

Radial nerve dysfunction is a problem with the radial nerve. Damage to the radial nerve leads to problems with movement or sensation of the back of the arm (triceps), forearm, or hand.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Radial neuropathy occurs when there is damage to the radial nerve, which travels down the arm and controls movement of the triceps muscle at the back of the upper arm. It also controls the ability to bend the wrist backward and helps with the movement and sensation of the wrist and hand.

Symptoms

The following symptoms may occur:

Signs and tests

The health care provider will take a detailed history to find out what you may have been doing just before the symptoms started, and to learn about any other medical problems you may have.

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to allow you to use the hand and arm as much as possible. The health care provider should find and treat the cause, if possible. In some cases, no treatment is needed and you will recover slowly on your own.

Expectations (prognosis)

If the cause of the nerve dysfunction can be found and successfully treated, there is a good chance that you will fully recover. In some cases, there may be partial or complete loss of movement or sensation.

Review

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 9/26/2010

Radial nerve dysfunction

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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