Radial Nerve Impingement

The radial nerve is one of three nerves that run from the side of your neck down the back of your arm, through your forearm, and into your hand. The radial nerve controls many arm movements, including forearm rotation, elbow extension, and wrist and finger movement. The nerve travels through the radial tunnel, which is a collection of muscles, to reach your elbow.

The nerve is pinched or compressed as it enters the radial tunnel, resulting in radial tunnel syndrome. This puts undue strain on your radial nerve, resulting in nagging pain.


You will most likely experience pain and tenderness on the outside of your elbow, extending down to your forearm. The discomfort is a nagging ache that can linger and cause fatigue. Radial tunnel syndrome can weaken your forearm muscles and overall wrist strength over time, making it difficult to grip or lift certain objects. The pain may also worsen while you sleep. Radial tunnel syndrome can sometimes cause wrist drop, which means you lose the ability to lift your hand past a certain point.


Radial tunnel syndrome is most common among people aged 30 to 50. Women are also far more likely than men to develop this condition. There are also some factors that may increase your chances of developing radial tunnel syndrome, such as:

  • Poor arm and wrist strength and flexibility.
  • Failing to adequately warm-up before playing sports.
  • Diabetes.
  • An underactive thyroid gland.
  • Tumors or ganglion cysts (mass or lump) in your arm.
  • Swelling or fluid in your arm.
  • Radial nerve inflammation.