patientinformation Radial nerve entrapment A guide to treatment & management Musculoskeletal Clinical Assessment & Treatment Service

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1 The NHS Foundation Trust Radial nerve entrapment A guide to treatment & management Musculoskeletal Clinical Assessment & Treatment Service patientinformation Your health,your life,your choice,our passion

2 Hearing about your experience of our services is very important as it means we can pass compliments to our staff and make improvements where necessary. Tell us what you think at If you require this document in another language, large print, braille or audio version, please contact Patient Information on or

3 Radial nerve entrapment Introduction The Radial Nerve runs down the back of the upper arm. When it gets level with the elbow joint it winds around the outside of the joint and runs down the outside of the forearm. It sits underneath the muscles which move your forearm and wrist. The nerve may get trapped or compressed against the bones and muscles in the elbow or further down between the muscles in your forearm. This can happen when you put your arm in certain positions for example turning your palm up towards the ceiling. When the nerve becomes compressed or trapped you can experience pain around the outside of your elbow and sometimes just down from your elbow along the outside of your forearm. You may sometimes feel pins and needles and/or numbness over the outside of your thumb and also the back of your thumb, index and middle fingers as well as half of your ring finger (highlighted in orange above). If the nerve has been compressed for a long time it may cause some weakness in some of the muscles in the forearm. You may notice this when you are trying to turn the palm up to the ceiling or lift the wrist, for example when trying to wring out a dishcloth. 3

4 Radial nerve entrapment Sensory area of the radial nerve Radial nerve What are the treatment options? You will firstly be assessed. The clinician will check movement of your elbow and wrist, sensation and muscle power and perform some tests specifically for the nerve. They may also press around the painful area. You may also be asked to move your neck to make sure symptoms are not coming from this area. 4

5 Radial nerve entrapment Painkillers and anti-inflammatories Will have been prescribed by your GP with advice to keep the elbow straight especially at night time. Physiotherapy This is the first treatment for this condition. You may be supplied with a splint to keep your wrist in a good position. The physiotherapist will perform a thorough assessment of the nerve and may give you exercises to do to stretch the muscles which may be compressing the nerve. They may also give you stretches to keep the nerve moving, and strengthening exercises to improve power in the weak muscles. To be successful you need to carefully follow the exercises and advice the physiotherapist gives you. Surgery You may need surgery if Physiotherapy and splinting do not help your symptoms. Sometimes the surgeon will send you for tests first called Nerve Conduction Studies to check the nerve before surgery. The Surgeon will release the nerve to allow it to move more freely again. You will have to follow their advice carefully after surgery and may need to see a physiotherapist to get the best results. 5

6 Radial nerve entrapment How to contact us Musculoskeletal Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service Community Health Centre Greasbrough Road S60 1RY Telephone Useful contact numbers NHS Direct Telephone Health Info Telephone Stop Smoking Service Telephone Patient Services Telephone A&E Telephone For GP out of hours, contact your surgery Useful websites We value your comments If you have any comments or concerns about the care we have provided please let us know, or alternatively you can write to: Patient Services The NHS Foundation Trust Hospital Moorgate Road Oakwood S60 2UD Telephone Produced by Sally Blair and Vanessa Fletcher-Barrett. October Revision due October Version: 1.0 The NHS Foundation Trust All rights reserved. 6

7 How to find us Community Health Centre main routes A6123 A6123 Greasbrough St Community Health Centre Greasbrough Rd Greasbrough Rd Northfield Rd Centenary Way Rawmarsh Rd A6021 Effingham St Kenneth St Shaftesbury Square Centenary Way Norfolk St St Ann s Rd A633 St Ann s Roundabout St Ann s Rd A629 College Rd Roundabout Centenary Way Centenary Way Bridge St Greasbrough Rd Water St Henry St A6021 Wharncliffe St Norfolk St College Rd ROTHERHAM CENTRAL TRAIN STATION A6021 Hospital main routes To Leeds Parkgate To Doncaster 35 Thorpe Hesley B6089 A633 M1 North 34 South 34 To Sheffield Kimberworth Park A629 Kimberworth A6109 A631 Woodside Brinsworth 33 TOWN Clifton CENTRE A618 A631 East Dene Hospital Moorgate A6123 Whiston Herringthorpe A631 M1 Wickersley Bramley 32 A631 To A1, M62 & Hull M18 1 To Sheffield Treeton A618 M1 To Nottingham and the South 7

8 Sustainable Forests / Low chlorine LS 20 10/12 V1 WFO Hospital Moorgate Road Oakwood S60 2UD Telephone

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