Radial Tunnel Syndrome

Radial Tunnel Syndrome

This condition is caused by a compression or stretching of the radial nerve as it passes between a layer of muscles and bones located at the outer side of the elbow. According to the Injury classification system, this syndrome usually develops because of a misalignment issue therefore is considered a level 1 injury with associated nerve entrapment. Chronic injuries at the elbow may also narrow the nerve passage due to the scar/fibrotic tissue at the superficial fascia and by the osteophytic bone formation from the underlying bones.


This condition may be misdiagnosed as tennis elbow as per the close anatomical relationship. This nerve entrapment causes radiating pain on the outer side of the elbow with radiation toward the forearm and dorsum of hand.

Mechanism of Dysfunction

The main predisposing factor for the development of this condition is a dysfunction misalignment of the proximal radio head by either creating a direct nerve pressure or by narrowing nerve canal. Is commonly seen in individuals that involve in repetitive forearm rotation activities.

Assessment Protocol

The entire upper extremity biomechanical chain must be evaluated as part of the elbow analyses as per the neurological and mechanical influences of the spine, shoulder, and hand.

Clinical assessment of the key elbow joints with specific attention to the evaluation of the Radial head alignment.

Tinel Neurological sign

 X-ray analysis

Anterior – Posterior (AP) and Lateral Xray view is essential to check the alignment of the radio head in relationship with the ulna

MRI analysis

Important exam to verify the level of narrowing of the nerve passage and the degree of nerve inflammation.

Treatment protocol

Restore the biomechanical alignment of the Radio- Ulnar joint

Radial Neuromobilization techniques may be used once the direct compression of the nerve is reduced. Specific therapeutic essential oils are applied to reduce nerve inflammation and enhance healing.

Depending on the level of nerve compromised and chronicity of the misalignment a minimum of 6 weeks up to 12 weeks of treatment care may be necessary to resolve this deformity.

Related Conditions