Patient Information Resources

Alpine Physical Therapy
Three Locations
In North, South, and Downtown Missoula
Missoula, MT 59804
Ph: 406-251-2323
Fax: 406-251-2999

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I was told that I have compression of my radial nerve causing some numbness in my hand. Where is the compression and how do they diagnose this?

Radial neuropathy can occur at any of three sites, above the elbow, at the elbow and at the end of the forearm. It can be associated with trauma and lead to varying finger, thumb and wrist dysfunction, depending on where the nerve is affected. If the nerve is compressed above the elbow, the patient will lose finger, wrist and thumb extension. When compressed at the elbow, the injury is termed PIN syndrome as the nerve compression takes place at the posterior interosseous nerve, PIN. Typically symptoms are weakness with thumb extension, wrist extension that occurs with radial deviation, and weakness of finger extension at the interphalangeal joint. This can be differentiated from radial tunnel syndrome as there is typically pain with radial tunnel syndrome but not with PIN syndrome. When the nerve is compressed in the distal forearm it affects the superficial radial nerve, SRN, and is called Wartenburg Syndrome. It causes pain and paresthesia on the back of the forearm, thumb, index and middle fingers.


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