It seems that everyday I treat more and more nerve dysfunction. Currently I am treating 3 different individuals who were referred to me for 'lateral epicondylagia' but additionally have radial nerve dysfunction with upper quarter deficits. Whether it is a double crush syndrome, an isolated peripheral nerve problem, or a radiculopathy, understanding the anatomy and course of each nerve is important to proper treatment.
Quick Facts regarding the Radial Nerve:
-The radial nerve arises from the posterior cord and receives branches from C5-T1.
-The nerve gives off 3 branches in the axilla- 1. branch to the long head of the triceps, 2. branch to medial head of triceps, and 3. the posterior cutaneous nerve of the arm.
-The nerve travels through the triangular interval and runs through the spiral groove of the humerus.
-The radial nerve provides sensory input to most of the dorsal aspect of the upper and lower arm.
-The nerve is susceptible to injury in distal humerus fractures which can cause wrist drop.
-The nerve branches in the posterior interosseus nerve, supplying the radial dorsal forearm musculature (this nerve does not provide sensory input; PIN=purely motor).
-The superficial radial nerve runs into the hand providing sensory input the dorsum of the hand.
To see treatment of radial nerve dysfunction, check out my case from earlier this year. It discusses a patient with radial nerve tension with CT junction mobility deficits. The patient was originally diagnosed with lateral epicondylagia and stopped attending PT because he knew the cause of the problem was not being addressed. Do not be the PT who is missing these cases!
Check out that post OR more great information on nerve tension and assessment on our PREMIUM PAGE!